By Morgan True
The retailer Target will open its first Vermont store on Dorset Street in October 2018, the company announced last Thursday.
The Minneapolis-based chain said in a news release that it has signed a lease at the University Mall to open a 60,000-square-foot “small format store,” a model designed to serve communities close to college campuses and in urban areas.
Vermont is the only state where Target does not yet have a store. The South Burlington project will mean Target is in all 50 states next year. Target will replace the Bon-Ton department store at the mall, which recently announced it would not renew its lease and will close at the end of January.
The Target store will offer men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, children’s and baby apparel, back-to-school items, home decor, and health and beauty products as well as groceries.
Target’s Vermont store is expected to have 75 employees, according to the release, although it did not specify how many would be full-time and part-time. The company recently said it would bring its minimum hourly wage up to $11 and has pledged to make it $15 by 2020. Vermont’s minimum wage of $10 an hour increases to $10.50 on Jan. 1 and thereafter will rise with the consumer price index.
South Burlington City Manager Kevin Dorn lauded the arrival of Target, saying the store will be “yet another great anchor” for South Burlington’s planned city center.
The reaction from one Church Street retailer to the arrival of Target was mixed. Mark Bouchett, operations manager at Homeport, said a major national retailer such as Target does solid market research and must view the region as a stable or growing market.
And with South Burlington intent on establishing its own downtown, does Bouchett think the region could support two downtown shopping destinations? “My gut tells me it can,” he said. “I think the Burlington area is going to continue to grow whether it wants to or not.”
Target is opening 32 new stores in 2017, with plans to open 35 new stores in 2018.