Target Through The Years

If you’ve made a shopping trip to the Duluth Target recently, no doubt you’ve gotten a sneak peak at their renovation plans. The Minnesota-based big-box retailer now is adding a larger food section. Though Target, which made Duluth its fourth store in 1962, never has been a quaint mom-and-pop shop, the big red circled dot hasn’t always been so diverse. Look back at these photos and see how Target has changed right along with the times.

The day after Christmas must be the worst day of the year for a Target employee, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the woman (front, with skirt) in this 1980 photo. She looks ecstatic to be helping customers wade through the return/exchange line. The man with the hat and glasses is holding an Atari game (he must be exchanging a defective one; no one returned an Atari), and the young girl is holding a basic duffle bag.


More Christmas mayhem, from 1984. All we can say about this photo is, "Wow." Not a smiling face in the bunch. Check out the iconic triangular-head Santa hanging from the ceiling.


This woman is:

(a) DNT bird-watching blogger John Lundy’s assistant;

(b) A pro football fan watching the game from the worst stadium skybox in history; or,

(c) A Target asset protection manager checking on customer behavior through a peephole.

If you chose answer c, give yourself a pat on the back. In 1990, the News Tribune wrote a story about shoplifting at local stores. Employee Margie Koivunen explained she only used the binoculars if she found something unusual on the television monitors. The closed circuit surveillance monitors are at the far left of Koivunen’s office.

The News Tribune story below says Duluth was in line for a Target Greatland. What happened?

Target Corp. plans to expand Duluth store

Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Target Corp. is planning to expand and remodel its Duluth store into a Target Greatland, a larger format with more mer-chandise and services than a typical Target store.
Torrie Enget, assistant manager at the Duluth store, said the plans have not yet received final corporate approval. But the Duluth Planning Commission will consider the proposal at its 5 p.m. meeting today.
The store upgrade will be handled differently than most. Normally, the discount retailer would build a new store in the parking lot of the existing one, tearing down the old store when the new one is finished.
But the Duluth store doesn’t have enough room on its property to accommodate such a plan. Enget said the tentative plans call for knocking down some walls in the existing store and adding about 25,835 square feet of warehouse and retail space.
Work could begin in late July and wrap up in summer 2001. The store would remain open during the remodeling, Enget said.
A typical Target store is 90,000 to 125,000 square feet. A Greatland store averages 135,000 square feet, carries more mer-chandise and has wider aisles, among other features.
In addition to the expansion, plans call for adding a second entrance to the store; reconfiguring the parking lot; installing new lighting fixtures; adding new landscaping features; and developing a stormwater management basin at the corner of Mall Drive and Maple Grove Road.
Opened in 1962, the Duluth store was the fourth Target to open and is one of the oldest in the chain.
Target Corp. has grown significantly in recent years. The company operates 1,243 stores in 44 states and posted sales of $2.052 billion in the four weeks ended Jan. 29.



What’s bad about post-Christmas Target shopping? The long wait in the returns/exchanges line. What’s good about it? The heavy discounts. Above, Marianne Robertson maneuvers her shopping cart through a crowded parking lot after taking advantage of half price sales on gift wrap and presents to give for birthdays the following year.


Well, sometimes you make a wrong turn on a shopping trip. In 2007, heavy fall rain swelled nearby Miller Creek and flooded the area around target. Apparently, the driver of the car above lost track of where the road was and drove into a sinkhole.

Here’s an aerial view of Target from a couple weeks ago. The remodling is scheduled to be complete in July.

5 Responses

  1. BJ

    My Mom worked at the old grocery store. It was way in the back of the store. They used conveyer belts to send the groceries to the front of the building for loading into the cars. One promotion even had a Viking come to visit. I think it was Carl Eller. Mom walked in to the back storage area and he was asleep on some bags or something.

  2. Ask Mr. Doe

    A Reader Writes to Ask Mr. Doe
    “Dear Mr. Doe”
    From Jason in Scranton

    “Hey, do you post Target Sucks customer stories? Or do you know where I should post this? I have been a happy Target customer. Until now. Now I think Target sucks. I received an iTrip as a Christmas gift. It was purchased at Target. The product is defective. Target won’t take it back because I don’t have a receipt (it was a gift!) Target’s policy: no receipt, no exchange.”

    Mr. Doe says:
    1) Complaints is a consumer site and you can put it on there and you should forward a copy of the posted complaint to Tarbutt, various email addresses for HQ drones are on my site FYI,

    2) Guerrilla Warefare Action
    Since the item is defective and they still sell the product with slightly different packaging this is real easy. Go to a different Tarbutt store and buy a brand new one of the same item you already have, use a charge card (not a debit card), wait a few days and take the ‘old’ non working item back with the ‘new’ packaging and the receipt. Just tell them you are returning the broken item as it doesn’t work. You get a refund on your card for the broken one and you keep the ‘new one’ for yourself.

    Keep in mind Jason, that Tarbutt thinks that anyone who returns something without a receipt stole the item, that is just how the morons think. Thanks for the question and for reading my blog.

  3. Les

    I worked at the Duluth Target store when it first opened in October of 1962. I worked over 80 hours each week for the first 3 weeks as the store was packed with costomers and had to stock shelves after and before store opened.

  4. Zeldfelder

    I was there with my parents about a week after it opened. Thought I’d died and gone to 2nd Grade Heaven. It held everything under one roof. An unknown concept at the time. (Up ‘til then, clothes were purchased at a clothing store, food at a food store, Sporting goods at…..) The automatic doughnut maker at the front of the store was a dazzling Instrument of the Gods. Watched it shuffle and flip for hours. I, nor it, never tired of its repetitive magic.

  5. Larry

    I think the older Targets in the cities have all been razed, our Target may now technically be the oldest existing Target. I remember when I was a little kid there was a seperate grocery store in the back of this Target, funny that they are now adding that back in after all these years.

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