Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Tale of Two Targets, Part 2 - Target's New Groove

Target #649
718 Maguire Boulevard, Orlando, FL - Colonial Marketplace

     The last time I posted about Target on MFR, we saw a classic store still sporting an interior decor from nearly 20 years ago. Today we're going to skip to a different part of Orlando (as well as 20 years into the future) to see what Target is doing today...

     Now remodeled just for you! With that banner hanging from the side of the building, you can probably tell what the subject of this post will be about: Target's recent remodeling spree. Started in 2017, Target announced an aggressive remodeling campaign that would include full remodels of 1,000 stores by the year 2020, with nearly all of Target's stores receiving some kind of attention by 2023. The Target we'll be touring today in East Orlando was included in the first remodeling wave of 2019, and has the most common (aka, most basic) version of the recent remodel package, which is officially called 'P17' (meaning 'Prototype 2017').

     The Target we'll be touring today is located along East Colonial Drive, right across the street from one of the Orlando area's most famous beguiled malls: Orlando Fashion Square (a story for another day, as it's a long one). Ironically enough, while the old, ultra low volume P01 Target we saw last time was located right next to one of Florida's busiest malls, this much busier Target is located next to one of Orlando's most ailing malls. Go figure. Anyway, unlike most of the Target stores in Central Florida, this building actually predated Target's arrival by quite some time. While this store was part of the original batch of four Target stores to open in Orlando on July 24, 1991, this building dates back to 1973. Originally, this building housed a store called Gold Triangle. Gold Triangle was owned by Federated Department Stores, and was a hardlines chain that was designed to compete with Montgomery Ward's Lechmere stores. Gold Triangle was supposed to be a sister store to Federated's more famous discount chain Gold Circle, which was later absorbed into Richway and sold off to Target in the late 1980's. While Gold Circle/Richway was later sold to Target (that sale marking Target's entrance into Florida in 1988), Gold Triangle was shut down in 1981 after only 13 years in business. Really, it's a pure coincidence that Target would later occupy this building.

     What you read above was only a brief summary of the history of Gold Triangle. Instead of me writing three paragraphs trying to rehash the history of that chain, I'll just link you to this post on the Sky City Retail Blog (which also has pictures of Gold Triangle too!). The Sky City blog has a very nice write-up on Gold Triangle. I highly recommend you read that article, as it will give you a much better understanding of the chain than anything I can rehash!

     After Gold Triangle folded in 1981, I can't find any record of another store occupying this building between then and when Target opened in 1991. If anyone knows of anything that occupied this building between then, please let us know in the comments. When Target took over this building, they heavily modified the exterior to fit their standard prototype. If you read the Sky City post, you'll have seen that all the Gold Triangle stores once had very distinctive pyramid-shaped entryways. This building had one of those right about where the "now remodeled" banner was hanging according to the historic aerials. While Target relocated and reconfigured the entrance prior to moving in, they did a surprisingly small amount of interior work before opening. For this store's first 10 years or so, the inside remained fairly in-tact from the Gold Triangle days. From what I read, this store had a very odd interior layout in its early days due to its Gold Triangle past. Around 2000/2001-ish, Target expanded this store out the back to increase salesfloor space. During that early 2000's remodel, the feel and layout of the interior was changed to conform to Target's standard design of the time. These days you'd never know this place was anything but a Target after stepping inside. Besides a weird lower ceiling that runs along a portion of the back salesfloor, there isn't much out of place here to make you think this store wasn't built as a Target.

     Now that we've learned what Gold Triangle is, let's get back to the topic at hand: Target remodels. As of early 2019, this store has been remodeled to Target's P17 decor. Prior to that remodel, this store had the P09 decor (which was installed when this store received an expanded grocery department in the late 2000's/early 2010's). There are plenty of pictures of this store on Google with the prior decor package, which you can see here (mixed in with some more recent post-remodel photos). Prior to the P09 remodel, this store had P01 (the decor package we saw at the Sand Lake Road store linked earlier in this post). Before that Target's order of decor packages gets a bit murky, but a 1991 opening would mean this store had a decor like this or this originally. So over a span of 28 years this place has gotten 4 remodels, which is a pretty good track record of refreshes.

     Stepping inside and looking immediately to our left, we find the new in-store Starbucks. Prior to the P17 remodel, I don't believe this store had a Starbucks, just the old-school Target Cafe. One major change coming with this latest remodel sweep is the end to many of the classic Target Cafes. In most cases, the cafes are replaced with a new or expanded Starbucks counter, or a Starbucks and a self-serve cafe featuring fountain drinks and store-made popcorn. It's sad to see the old Target Cafes go, as the smell of popcorn has almost become synonymous with stepping into Target!

     Spinning around from Starbucks, we find the revamped Guest Service counter. I have a more detailed photo of the Guest Service counter coming up at the end of this post.

     As usual, you enter Target walking past the cafe/Starbucks and through Bullseye's Playground, home of impulse buys galore. I have to say Target is one company that has impulse buying down to a science, especially if they can spawn memes like this!

     Now that we've braved Bullseye's Playground and left it without stuffing a handbasket full of things I didn't realize I needed, we enter the main store. Immediately behind Starbucks was this small area of seasonal merchandise, showcasing some summer items to everyone as they entered. This small seasonal showcase was carved out of part of the clothing department.

     Here's a look down the left side of the store, looking into the clothing departments. The poor placement of the support columns in the middle of the actionway is due to this building's past as Gold Triangle, as this building wasn't designed with Target's usual layout in mind.

     Moving further into the clothing departments, we begin to see one of the most controversial aspects of Target's recent remodels (at least in the retail fan community - other people could probably care less about this): the gray walls. Up until now, Target was quite fond of using bright reds or other bright colors (as well as neon) on the walls. The gray is a radical change from that, leading the store to have a more modern, neutral, upscale feel. At the end of this post I'll give everyone my overall thoughts on P17, including what I think of all this gray. For now though, we'll continue our tour...

     Here's a look down the store's center aisle, looking toward the housewares department. The addition of spotlights in the clothing department make this part of the store seem very bright.

      The good ol' Fitting Ooms. There really wasn't much I could do to avoid getting that pole in my picture, as the pole was right up against the wall (curse you Gold Triangle!). Even with how close that pole was to the wall, someone still managed to squeeze the 'R' up there.

     Now these are some fancy fitting rooms! In many of these remodeled stores, the fitting rooms are getting moved from the back corners into the center of the clothing department, however this store kept the fitting rooms in the original location. I also like the addition of the comfy chairs and the little waiting area out here - you don't see that often at the fitting rooms (at least in the stores I frequent).

     Looking across the back of the store, men's clothing appears on our left, with more women's clothing on my right.

     In the back of men's clothing, here's a look at that weird lower ceiling that runs across a portion of the back of the store. This weird ceiling is one of the very few signs that there's something odd about this building's past. I'm not sure if this change in ceiling height is something left over from Gold Triangle directly, or a product of Target's expansion of this building out the back in the early 2000's.

     The recent remodel also brought some new shelving to Target's clothing departments, examples of which can be seen here. Some other Target stores that won't be getting remodeled for a while are getting separate remodels only to the clothing departments. Those remodels, called 'Innovation Remodels', bring the gray paint and new fixtures to the softlines side of the store, but leave the remainder of the store as-is with whatever decor was already there.

     Moving away from the clothing, baby supplies and electronics are the next departments we come across.

     Here's a look down the main center aisle that connects the front of the store with toys and electronics.

     A sleek new electronics counter was installed as part of the remodel, visible under the 'Tech' sign. Speaking of the signs, P17's department signs are a direct carryover from Target's previous decor package, P13. P13 was essentially P09's wall decor with these signs, not really marking much of any change from its predecessors. P17 is one of the most radical decor changes Target has made in the last 15 years, switching from the primarily red themes to this gray one.

     The back wall of the electronics department is home to the TVs, and one of the few accents of red walls remaining in the entire store. While the selection of TVs, phones, video games, and most other electronic gadgets and accessories didn't change much with the remodel, there was one category of electronics that got beaten down pretty bad...

     ...that category being movies and music. In these remodeled stores, Target features 2-3 aisles of music and movies, down from the usual 5-7 aisles most stores currently have after last year's toy department expansions.

     While Target's selection of physical music and movie media has shrunk quite a bit, books however enjoy a large amount of floor space in these remodeled stores. My local Target has always had 2-3 aisles of books, which was about the same selection here.

     Moving away from electronics, we now see the luggage and pet departments. On the right beyond toys is sporting goods.

     The seasonal department is located in the back right corner of the building. While this part of the store has always been home to the seasonal department (at least since the expansion in the early 2000's), this department was rearranged during the remodel. The season's featured items (for example, patio furniture for the summer), get placed under those new hanging spotlights at an angle. The remaining aisles of seasonal merchandise extend out along the right side wall and the back wall.

     Here's a look across this store's back wall, as seen from seasonal. Electronics is just barely visible in the background, but the splash of red on the wall makes it stand out from the rest of the store.

     Leaving the back of the store, let's turn the corner and take a look at the grocery department:

     Turning the corner, here's what we see as we enter the grocery department.

     Wine and Beer gets featured on the wall over the coolers, the only wall-mounted department sign to be found in this store. Finding wall mounted signage like this is much more common in Super Targets.

     Speaking of wine and beer, it seems like we just can't get enough of this stuff!

     Now that we got our wine, here's a quick peek across the center store housewares aisles before we return to our grocery shopping...

     In addition to the coolers along the side wall, an additional aisle of Frozen Foods was located amongst the grocery aisles.

     Like any P-Fresh store, near the front of the grocery department we find the small selection of fresh foods. Here you can find a small selection of produce, baked goods, and meat, as well as some expanded dairy offerings. The fancy new lighting was working in my favor for this photo too, as I quite like how this one turned out! The wood-grained fixtures and decorations were all added as part of the remodel, as were the spotlights. Prior to the remodel, this part of the store would have looked like this. The addition of the gray floor tiles and the ceiling decoration make the P-Fresh selection look a little less blank than its predecessor did.

     This case of dairy products to my right finishes out the grocery department. From here we can see across the front of this store, with cleaning supplies and health and beauty being the next departments we come across as we make out way back to the front of the store.

     Front wall view, with the CVS Pharmacy counter visible in the distance.

     Speaking of the CVS Pharmacy counter, here's a closeup of it.

     Leaving the pharmacy, here's one last look toward the grocery aisles before we return to the front of the building...

     Beyond the pharmacy counter and health and beauty we find the cosmetics department. The cosmetics department is designated by that funky round light fixture on my left, which we'll see in a closeup photo in just a moment. To my right are small appliances, kitchenware, and office supplies.

     It looks like someone forgot to remove one of the old aisle signs during the remodel. But don't worry, I won't tell the manager about this! 😀

      Relics aside, if we turn our attention to the other side of the aisle, here's a closer look at the re-imagined Target cosmetics department. The P17 remodel brought new lower shelves to this department, as well as plenty of accent lighting (including lighting from those circular light fixtures for a modern touch). While Target is going for a more department store-like feel with these remodels, none of the re-imagined departments at this store felt too out of place for a Target. However, this was one of the less intensive P17 remodels out there, so I can't speak much for the stores that got the fancier remodels.

     Next to the cosmetics department was this fancy little area for men's grooming, complete with some fancy little display tables like the ones over in cosmetics.

     Here's one last look into the main salesfloor before we proceed to the front end. One other thing I'd like to point out about these P17 remodels is in addition to all the upgraded fixtures, reset departments, and new paint, there is one other thing Target is adding in these remodels that I can't convey very well in a blog post: background music. For many, many years, Target has had a longstanding tradition that there be no background music, noise, pages, or advertisements in their stores. I can't recall a specific reason for that tradition, but I believe it had something to do with preserving a classier, less "mentally cluttered" ambiance in the store. In these recent remodels, Target has been adding speaker systems in the stores to play background music. I tried to take a short video clip of me walking around the store with the music playing in the background, but the clicking of the shopping cart I was pushing drowned out most of the background music in the clip. Oh well, but believe me, the music is there! (If you want, you can hum a little something as you scroll through the rest of these pictures to make up for my missing video clip!)

     Now that we've covered all we can on the main salesfloor, it's time we cut our way through the front end as we head toward the exit. Here's a look at the front registers, which included 10 regular lanes and 4 self checkouts if I recall correctly.

     For the P17 decor package, Target unveiled these new lane lights. These lights are glass panels with LEDs embedded between the pieces of glass, which make the number appear when turned on. Winn-Dixie's Green Interior has lane lights that use a similar concept. I personally think LED back-lit glass looks neat and has a nice modern feel to it, so I like these.

     Moving up toward the Guest Service counter, here's a look toward the recycling bins and the registry kiosk. The 'Order Pickup' sign is a bit misleading, as you still have to go up to a person at the service desk just out of frame to the right to get your order, not that kiosk.

     Here's the entirety of the Guest Service desk, complete with its very shiny new walls.

     So there you have it - Target's new groove. So what do I think of the new era of Target you ask? It's not horrible. My one main complaint would have to be the gray walls, which just look pretty dull, especially with how few other accents there are throughout the store. If the walls were red or had more accent pieces I think I would like this new look much better. That being said, what Target did does look nice and cohesive, even if this wasn't the fanciest of remodels out there. Some of the really fancy Target remodels got things like curved aisles, fancy product displays, and even color-changing cafes! I'm sure those fancier stores give off a much different impression of Target's new look, but for now, this is the best we've got (at least on MFR!).

     Anyway, we still have a few loose ends to finish up here at the East Colonial Target. Before we leave, let's take a look at that random trellis structure off to the side of the building:

     On the far right side of the building we find this decorative trellis and some nice landscaping. While this seems like a random addition to this building, there's actually a reason why this is here. When Target opened this store, they placed their garden center in front of the building, right where the trellis stands now. Typically, Target garden centers were tucked onto one of the sides of the building, something that wasn't possible here due to the property layout and the building's past as another retailer. When Target shut down all their remaining garden centers in 2010, most were left to sit abandoned on the side of the buildings to which they were attached. The traditional garden center setup makes the abandoned garden centers mostly unnoticeable outside of a partially-covered over gate at the far end of the building. So when the garden centers closed, it wasn't as easy to hide this one from the public eye as it was for most other Target stores. As a means of getting rid of the obvious eyesore stuck on the front of this building, Target tore down the old garden center structure here and replaced it with this small garden and trellis, which looks much more appealing in front of the building than the abandoned garden center would have.

     Here's a look toward the trellis from the front walkway, that randomly placed bicycle doing a good job of getting in my way though!

     There's nothing like a morning walk under the Target trellis, right? Here's a look under the trellis at some of the landscaping. A small portion of Fashion Square Mall is visible in the background of this photo too, specifically the never-opened Orchard Supply Hardware store (again, a long story for another day). Fashion Square was my next destination after leaving Target (and my main photographic goal this particular day, as my trip out here came shortly after news broke of Fashion Square's seemingly inevitable demise).

     Here's a look at Target's roadsign, this particular one facing Maguire Boulevard and Fashion Square. This sign was updated during the remodel to include Target's new lowercase font logo.

     For some perspective, here's a look at the East Colonial Target from above (which I labeled in the above image). Fashion Square is visible to the right, where you can see the former Sears anchor in the process of being replaced with a new Floor and Decor store as well as that never-opened Orchard Supply Hardware. To the left of the Target is a rather large building, which I have a quick photo of below:

     While that large building attached to Target is now split between Burlington and LA Fitness, this building was originally constructed in 1963 to house a Leeds store. Leeds was a local Orlando area catalog showroom store that once had 2 or 3 area locations, as well as a branch in Fort Lauderdale. Leeds would sell out to Service Merchandise in the 1980's, and with that sale all Leeds stores switched over to the Service Merchandise name. Service Merchandise would operate out of this building until that chain met its demise in the early 2000's. After Service Merchandise closed, this building was subdivided between LA Fitness, AC Moore, and OfficeMax. Eventually AC Moore and OfficeMax would close here by the early 2010's, with their spaces combined to make room for a new Burlington.

     With my history of this place out of the way, that wraps up out look at the East Colonial Target! Now that we've seen some Target from the past and present, it's time we jump into something else. If all goes as planned my next post will be something a bit more timely in the realm of recent retail news, but we'll have to see how I feel when I start preparing my next MFR post.

So with that being said, that's all I have for now. Until the next post,



  1. I love P17! Target did a good job at remodeling this store. I like how the fitting rooms and cosmetics department look. I'm sad that they got rid of the snack bar in this store. About the grey walls, I don't mind the grey walls, It works well with the P17 look.

    1. I didn't realize how fancy of a remodel the fitting rooms got until I saw this! They were very nice, and Target did a nice job with this store. As for the gray, if only there was something (pictures, small decorations, etc) to break up all the blankness, I probably would like it more. However, don't get me wrong, the remodel still turned out nicely in the end!

  2. I will begrudgingly admit, P17 seems to look pretty nice here based on your photos. Particularly in areas like the "fitting ooms" and PFresh. The red on the exterior definitely pops as well, and the trellis is really unique and cool. All in all, much better than the P17 remodel I experienced this summer!

    I do think it certainly helps that this store kept its existing, normal Target layout for the P17 remodel. I found an article the other day from The Daily Memphian talking about the Colonial Road remodel in East Memphis. That store got one of the major remodels, with all the departments shuffled around and the actionways rearranged. It's caused a lot of customer confusion, especially the so-called "egg" in the middle of the store where apparel was moved to (from its previous home along the perimeter walls). I haven't seen one of those remodels in person yet, but I think it's that sort of drastic change more so than the décor itself that I'm less agreeable with.

    The Daily Memphian article also mentioned that so far, Colonial, Wolfchase, and Germantown have all remodeled; not sure if Germantown got the real deal like Colonial, or just the décor swap like Wolfchase. More concerning was that it listed all the other local stores - Collierville, Olive Branch, Ridgeway, and Horn Lake - and said it's not certain when those will be remodeled. Well, with the exception of Collierville, I know OB and Ridgeway have each received the Apparel 2.0 half-remodel, so that really only leaves HL untouched right now... yikes!

    1. The fact that Target kept a lot of the normal characteristics in this store (like the layout) helped make this place feel much more like a "normal Target", even with the gray and other updated department features. I was very impressed with the "fitting oom" remodel myself, as those fitting rooms look nicer than some at full-line department stores!

      I'd like to track down a Target that got a more extensive version of P17 to see how that remodel compares to the more basic version. There are some high volume Target stores in Orlando, but many of the really high volume stores are Super Targets, so I don't know how that effects the scope of the remodeling in terms of adjusted layouts. I'm assuming the higher the volume of the Target, the fancier the remodel. I'm sure a new layout, curved actionways, and potentially a cement floor would really throw me off more than the semi-classic Target feel that remains from the more basic remodels.

      Target hasn't released any details about stores remodeling in 2020 and beyond yet, so we'll have to see what happens next spring. At least the wavy neon in Horn Lake lives on completely in-tact for now, but it seems likes that's the most forgotten about store in your entire area. Target should give the Horn Lake store a little love and attention from time to time to show they care!

  3. As you might have known, P17 among other Target changes has been a mixed bag in my eyes. Outside of its nexus to Target, it's an excellent package that evokes a classic department store feeling and adds depth to many departments throughout the store. Where this new direction for Target isn't swell in, however would still have to be the abundance of gray among other elements common in interior design today. The imbalanced lighting, as in some corners of the store are dark while others are teeming with LED light doesn't make it perfect. The use of wood paneling and a really post-modern feel to it also makes this package a bit unoriginal. The lowest points of the whole P17 shebang IMO are the cheap facade renovations they do - they really detract from classic Target facades, and they could at least do without making such changes (doesn't dramatically raise sales or anything). At times, some of these remodels feel unnecessary for newer stores, and perhaps are a bit too soon (as P09-era stores have been subject to these). Overall it's still a dynamic package that can pull off anything from a continuation of the old Target to an ultimate department store experience.

    Here in the DMV they've managed to remodel a fair amount of stores all around, considering they're successful here and just about all these stores had expanded grocery to begin with. Innovation remodels have been portrayed at nearly every store as well.

    I also prefer full remodels to the Innovation remodels they've done. The former are more complete and display a cohesive look for each department they've reimagined. And while Innovation remodels started the whole transformation of Target back in 2013 (the electronics one, at least) and are a good testing ground, they seem to look out of place and too bright for the older packages.

    Anyhow, excellent post- I enjoy your storytelling style, AFB! It's a wonderful inspirational source and I hope to see many more like these.

    1. Like I said in the post, I probably wouldn't mind the gray as much if there was something to break up all the blankness on the walls (pictures, decorations, neon, etc.) In stores with drop ceilings blank walls tend to stand out to me more, which is what happened here. That's my one criticism, but otherwise, I think this remodel turned out nicely. Some of the exterior remodels on these P17 stores do seem a bit odd or off-center, but I think the one at this store worked out nicely. Other than the new red paint and a new bullseye logo, Target didn't change anything here structurally. I've seen a handful of 27XX range Target stores popping up on the remodel lists too. I haven't looked too closely to see if these are super high volume stores or anything like that, but you'd think the newest stores would be some of the last to get the remodel treatments.

      The Innovation remodels are a bit strange, the P17 clashing with the P04 or P09 in the rest of the building. The lighting issues is also very apparent in the Innovation stores, as there are a lot of spotlights in the clothing areas of the remodeled stores that aren't seen in the remainder of the building.

      And lastly, thanks! I have plenty more posts to come, so keep an eye out for more in the future!

    2. Agreed - I'm thankful they at least tried the backlights. Hopefully that will be something they fix down the line, given the updates they've done to P17.
      About the remodel - they did well for keeping classic Target character, however it feels bland for the most part. The full remodels do things slightly better. That being said since this is the first package to not be widely included in new big-box stores, it does give off a "nothing new" character. And honestly the new facade's meh - it looks neat but they should definitely bring a wordmark back. That being said - what are those 27xx stores slated for remodeling? Most of those opened from 2010-2012 with a few stores from 2009 and 2013-onwards. Besides Innovation remodels I'm sure those stores still look great, what's the need for a refresh so soon? I wonder if Target will remodel P13s at some point...

      That being said - those really came before the remodel waves. I will argue those aren't necessary, yes, but eh. They just want some quick stuff out the building.

      Anyhow, I'll be on the lookout!

  4. I recently visited the Waterford Lakes Super Target in east Orlando and it got the full-blown renovation. It looks nice, but I didn't feel like I was in a Target, but perhaps that's what they are going for. The gray walls and track lighting make the store seem a little dark. The housewares departments are arranged very differently from any other Target I've been in. If I had been looking for something specific I think I might have had a hard time finding it.

    One the plus side, the clothing departments have all new fixtures that break up the individual departments. It felt more like JCPenney that a typical discount department store.

    The clothing departments have the dark gray carpet like East Colonial. In the rest of the store it's polished concrete. I have to say they did a better job than Winn Dixie did with some of their stores with polished concrete.

    Something they've changed with the overheads signs: I was in the Super Target in Ormond Beach about a year ago and they had the new signs, but they were glossy, so they were hard to read with the reflection from the fluorescent lights. Waterford Lakes's sign weren't glossy so they were easier to read. I think they should be bigger as they kind of get lost in a store with such high ceilings.

    I visited around lunchtime on a Friday and this store was BUSY. It's clearly a very high volume store which must be why it got the full update. My nearest store, Altamonte Springs, got the Innovation redo in the clothing department and Guest Services desk. The rest of the store was left alone.

    1. The more extensive Target remodels are going for a more "department store" type feel. The Waterford Lakes Super Target is one of the, if not the, highest volume Target store in all of Florida according to someone I spoke with. That being said, it's no surprise that store had more of the fancy elements added than I was able to show here at East Colonial. The more department store-like design Target is going for with their latest remodels seems to be what's throwing most people off. I've yet to see the full-blown remodel like you saw at Waterford Lakes, but I'm sure it would throw me off at first too. The polished concrete is also odd for Target, as these remodels are the first time the company had have tried to use those style floors. I'll have to check out that Waterford Lakes store next time I'm in Orlando to see what the fancier elements are all about.

      I know what you mean about the new signs - they are small. With all the new spotlights, making the signs glossy wasn't a good move, so at least Target has realized that with the more recent remodels. I was at the Altamonte Springs Target recently and was surprised it got the new Service Desk. While the Innovation remodels are common, that was the first time I saw a new Service Desk added without the rest of the store getting a full remodel too.