“Target has long been pursuing a site on Newport Avenue to serve the surrounding community,” said Jacque DeBuse of Target corporate. “I can confirm our plans to open a store in 2019 to bring an easy, convenient and affordable retail option to the Ocean Beach neighborhood.”
A Target Express is a downsized version of the original Target store introduced by the chain across the nation in numerous sizes and assortments. The express business model is meant to create a more locally relevant big-box experience in urban areas.
DeBuse said the company will be more forthcoming about sharing details soon, including, “an exact opening timeframe and details on our product assortment and services for this particular store.”
Target took over the former 18,000-square-foot Antique Center at 4864 Newport Ave. on April 20. Initially, Target was mute on the takeover, saying only that OB was among sites it was considering.
Tony Franco, of Tony Franco Realty Inc., previously said the former antique mall now being transformed into a Target Express had been shopped around to numerous local businesses including bowling alleys, breweries and grocery stores such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. The real estate broker said local businesses approached only wanted “a small portion of the space.” Franco added, “It would have been too expensive to split the building up into four-to-six different smaller tenants.”
As happened previously with Starbucks coming in years ago to the beach community’s business strip dominated by mom-and-pops, there was an adverse reaction to a corporation entering the local market.
Some Obecians argued parking was insufficient for the project. Others feared local small businesses could be displaced while products and services provided might be duplicated.
A Facebook page and a No Target in Ocean Beach online petition drive were launched with a goal of gathering 5,000 signatures opposing Target’s plans. Some even threatened a boycott of Target should it come to town.
But a sampling of local opposition recently seemed to indicate opposition to Target’s arrival has become muted.
Paul Bearce, co-owner of the 41-year-old renowned OB print shop The James Gang, which has been selling anti-Target T-shirts, said: “We’ve taken our signs out of our windows. We’re not openly promoting (the protest). We just want the spirit of Ocean Beach, peace, love and unity back.”
Bearce said people who still want a Target T-shirt can still, “Come in, order, and get one.”
Kimmy McGinley, who’s been in the forefront of the No Target in OB protests, expressed frustration with the most recent turn of events.
“We don’t want gentrified, cookie-cutter businesses in OB,” said McGinley, whose primary argument against Target is that, “It’s outsiders coming to our community who could take away from our local economy. It’s a shame the voice of the community is not being heard.”