HYDE PARK — Hyde Park’s new Target store is up and running early, opening its doors late Tuesday night ahead of the planned grand opening on Sunday.
The new 21,000-square-foot store at 1346 E. 53rd Street is Target’s fourth location in Chicago opened under its flexible design format that features a smaller and more carefully selected assortment of merchandise.
“It’s more of a curated feel [than] a full [Target],” said Cleritta Scott, the store team leader who came from the Chatham Target to help open the Hyde Park store.
She said the store is carrying University of Chicago shirts and hoodies and other items geared toward the neighborhood, as well as adult clothing, groceries, beauty care products and other items.
The opening of Target responds to decadeslong complaints from Hyde Parkers that the neighborhood has been so ignored by retailers they had nowhere to buy something as simple as a pair of socks.
“No one has come in to buy socks yet, but we have socks,” Scott said.
The store was light on shoppers Wednesday morning, and passersby seemed unaware that the store was open. One couple walking by hesitated before trying the door, saying they were unsure if the staff was there stocking for the grand opening on Sunday.
Scott said the store has hired 80 people from two local job fairs, and about 75 percent of the staff live within 5 miles of the store. She said they are all new to Target.
The store is geared toward shoppers who need to come and grab something quick, she said. But there are also 25 parking spaces in the parking garage above the store that are free for the first hour for shoppers who need more time, she said.
The grocery section, which takes up about a quarter of the store, stocks some local products, like prepared meals from Good to Go Fresh, and the store is also looking for more local vendors, particularly on the South Side, Scott said.
The Target is pursuing a liquor license and plans to stock wine and local craft beer once the license is approved, Scott said.
The store will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays; and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.
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