The Target store within The Standard apartment building at 13th Street and University Avenue in Gainesville will close in summer 2022 only a few years after opening its doors. (Summerleigh Stones/WUFT News)

Experimental Target store near UF campus is closing this summer


The Target store at The Standard building announced recently that it would be closing, but some area residents aren’t taking the news too hard.

“My thoughts would be that the location was a good idea,” said Paul Barney, a University of Florida alumni and Gainesville resident. “Maybe the product mix wasn’t so good. There was not enough selection of things…staple items.”

The store, located at 250 NW 13th St., will close its doors on June 11 due to years of underperforming sales, a Target spokesperson wrote in an email.

When it opened in 2017, the approximately 20,000-square-foot store was part of Target’s small-format plan.

Small-format Targets introduced micro-stores where full-sized ones would not fit, according to a  2018 press release. The stores, which have flexible designs and start as small as 15,000 square feet, began testing in 2012 and were built near college campuses to fit the needs of what Target thought would “best fit and best serve the neighborhood,” the company said.

The stores were initially called CityTarget and TargetExpress, and the idea was that customers living in urban neighborhoods could easily carry their groceries home. Smaller pack sizes for items, such as paper towels, were a feature of the small-format stores.

But for some Gainesville residents and University of Florida students, the Target store closing couldn’t come soon enough.

“I think that the store closing is a big positive,” said Natalie White, who has lived in Gainesville for six years and believes Gainesville’s ongoing affordable housing crisis is defined by big development programs that nobody wants. “I can only hope that this might be the first death rattle as Gainesville’s property development bubble finally starts to burst.”

The city is overrun by overpriced housing at the expense of everyone that has to live here, she said.

Wayne Archer, a UF professor of finance, insurance and real estate, said he had been worried about that particular Target for some time. The store consisted mainly of the CVS pharmacy and carried mostly snack foods, he said.

Another issue with the small-format Target, Archer said, is its lack of practical parking. And the small-format Target was competing with the name, brand and service quality of a Publix store across the street.

But not everyone disliked the idea of having a Target store – even a small one – just steps away from where they lived.

UF student Michelle Cuppy, who lives at The Standard, said that having the Target on the first floor was one of the biggest reasons she renewed her lease. With everything within walking distance, Cuppy said she has not needed to bring her car to Gainesville. She also argues that, despite there being a Publix across the street, many household items at Target can’t be found at Publix.

While some Gainesville residents are happy to see a big developer move out of the neighborhood, UF geology student Kailyn Krinsky said she found the idea of a small format great.

“While they never had anything I needed, it was always nice to walk there to destress,” Krinsky said.

Target looks at its portfolio each year and determines which stores to get rid of where to open new ones. Other small-format locations near UC Berkeley, Penn State, Ohio State, NYU and Harvard are profitable, the company said.

“Target remains committed to Gainesville and will continue to serve guests locally through our store on Archer Road,” a Target representative said in an email.

About Summerleigh Stones

Summerleigh is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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