I love Target way more than anyone should. I’m 100% Minnesotan and Target is in my blood. I do all my grocery shopping at Super T and I’m probably there twice a week. I even loved Target as a kid. Going to Target was much more special to me than going to Kmart, even though they sold the same thing. I much preferred getting my Barbie dolls, My Little Ponies, and coloring books from Target than Kmart. We didn’t have a Target store in Brooklyn Park/Center until 1986, so prior to that, we always had to shop at the Crystal Target. When I grew up, I got a job my senior year in high school as a Target cashier and worked my way into HQ & ended up working for the company for 7 years.
So, back in 1998, I heard it through the company grapevine that the Coon Rapids Blvd (store T-42) was closing, and I got a little teary-eyed. I didn’t frequent this store, but I did shop here once in a while. Prior to this, I had never heard of a Target store in Minnesota closing!
They didn’t arbitrarily chose to close this store to meet numbers or whatever. There was a rhyme to the reason they were shuttin’ this store down. And that reason was Riverdale, the latest and greatest North Suburban retail hotspot for the new millennium.
Riverdale is the reason why, 11 years later, the entire northern corridor of Coon Rapids Blvd looks like Chernobyl. This empty Target store is just one of many abandoned retail establishments along the Coon Rapids Boulevard of broken dreams.
The Coon Rapids store closed in the fall of 1998. At the time, Riverdale was newborn retail center, only consisting of a Rainbow Foods, a Green Mill, a Hollywood Video, a Panera Bread, and of course, a Target store. They area was very underdeveloped at the time, but big plans were in place for this new area dubbed “Riverdale.” It was going to be the next big thing for North Suburban retail and rather than give this store a makeover, they threw up a Target Greatland in the nearby Riverdale area and eventually closed old T-42. This also happened to the Rainbow Foods (where the Big Lots is now). Can’t say I miss that Rainbow store. It was one of the most incredibly disgusting grocery stores I’ve ever been in, ranking right up there with that Columbia Heights Rainbow Foods pigsty. I remember going in there, looking for O’Boises chips and walking out empty-handed (so disgusted I couldn’t purchase a sealed bag of potato chips) and feeling like I needed to take a shower.
This was a pretty rough-looking Target store anyway. This was store # T-42, and judging by its low store number, it likely opened in the late 1960′s or early 70′s and never had a remodel. This particular store was a good example of a Tar-GHETTO, not a Tar-jay. The former Target store (T-180) off of West Broadway in North Minneapolis was an even better example…that was a Target experience like no other!
The Coon Rapids Blvd/Crooked Lake store is from a lost era of Target. Even in ’98, this store felt decrepit and passe. This store was from the pre-hipster days of Target. It’s from a time when Target sold only Cherokee, Chic Jeans, ProSpirit, and Honors. The popcorn smell from Food Avenue hit you the minute you walked in and wafted throughout the store. They had paper gift certificates. McGlynn’s bakeries were inside the stores instead of Starbucks & you could watch the bakers decorate cakes and cookies. They placed individual price stickers on all of their items. You could buy computers, cigarettes, and the StarTribune. They had an intercom up at the service desk and parents would request help from employees to round up their missing kids. SuperTargets were just being introduced (in 1995) and still very much a rarity and only found in Utah and Iowa. Target still put out a garden center every spring. You could get cash for returning things without a receipt. The checkout lanes had aluminum hand railings, and as kids, my brother and I would treat them as a jungle gym and climb all over the bars while Mom checked out, until the cashier yelled at us to stop monkeying around.
These things, for the most part, are all gone from today’s Target. McGlynn’s is plum out of business. Food Avenue (Food Express in some stores) has been replaced by a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell Express fusion. They don’t use the intercom system anymore. You can’t go five miles without finding a SuperTarget, and come hell or highwater, you will NOT be getting cash back if you don’t cough up your receipt.
Target was always considered more upscale than other discount mass merchandisers, but it pushed itself to a new level of chic with the introduction of the Michael Graves housewares collection, Caphalon cookware, and Mossimo clothing in 1999ish. Today’s Target sells Xhilaration, Converse, Menora, Mossimo, up-and-coming designer clothes made specifically for the store, and $80 100% cashmere sweaters. Sure, you can still find Cherokee and Honors clothing (ProSpirit is gone and Chic Jeans can be found at Fleet Farm if you really want them), but it’s not as prevalent as it once was.
Back in the day, Target selling food was a weird thing. Nowadays, every Target store — SuperTarget or not — has a mini grocery store inside of it. But back then, the only food you could buy at Target was candy, soda, and crackers.
Today, there’s a Goodwill store taking up part of the Target store’s old space — this is the new location of the Goodwill that was in the Springbrook Mall. There’s also a Big Lots. Oh joy.
The Firestone tire place is still kickin’ and the Arby’s is still here. The White Castle is boarded up and I believe there also was a Ground Round restaurant near the Target premises that burned down many, many years ago.
When I was up in this area to take pictures, I was quite surprised that the Target store was still standing. It’s been 11 years since it closed – you’d think the city would’ve razed it by now. The likelihood of retail redevelopment plans for this spot are pretty slim, since Riverdale gets all the shopping traffic.And what retailer in their right mind would want to be situated across from the fucking Coon Rapids Family Center Mall??
This entire area of Coon Rapids is absolutely depressing and miserable. It’s dirty, unkempt, empty buildings everywhere…and come nightfall, it’s very spooky. It’s like a mini Detroit, minus the automobile plants and Eminem. But go a few files up to Round Lake Blvd and everything changes into a bright, overdeveloped, sprawling shopping mecca. I’m not sure what the plans are for this area – if there are any. It’s been a hole for quite sometime, even pre-Riverdale days.
All pictures of the outside were taken May 2009.
But I also have interior pics! YAY.
The interior pics are all screenshots taken from clips of the 1991 movie Career Opportunities. I picked out the best screencaps of the store from the movie, so you don’t have to comb through a bunch of video clips from this shitty movie. These pics are not from the Coon Rapids store, however, the CR Target floorplan CR was the exact same style as in the movie, so it probably didn’t vary much from these pictures. If you shopped at Target in the ’80s and ’90s, these screenshots will bring you back! It’s interesting to see what it used to look like – it almost looks like how Kmart looks today.
Enjoy all of the photos!