Abandoned Target Store: Coon Rapids, MN

June 4, 2009

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.


The solution is easy. Buy this Target store and bulldoze it. Hold on to the land until they decide to build a Cheesecake Factory next door (hope you're patient, it might be a while). Then, sell the property for millions! It's simple, really.

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.

Old Target stores all had a distinct architectural look. Without me telling you this was a Target, you could probably figure that out on your own, you smart cookie, you!

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.

An old Target price tag

An old Target price tag

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.

Big Lots

Big Lots used to be Rainbow Foods.

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!

A typical interior of a Target store in the 80's and 90's

A typical interior of a Target store in the 80's and 90's

Another view of an old skool Target

Another view of an old skool Target

The tape cassette display at Target. Holy FLASHBACK! I remember searching through these, looking for New Kids on the Block's Funky Funky Christmas!

The cassette display at Target. Holy FLASHBACK! I remember searching through these, looking for New Kids on the Block's Funky Funky Christmas at the Brooklyn Center store

This is how Target used to display CDs. (Yes, that's Jennifer Connelly)

This is how Target used to display CDs. (Yes, boys, that's Jennifer Connelly)

Old style Target checkout lanes

Old style Target checkout lanes

Target Food Avenue looks like a hospital cafeteria

Target Food Avenue looked like a stark hospital cafeteria

How the housewares section looked in the '80s and '90s. Those lamps are so fugly

How the housewares section looked in the '80s and '90s. Those lamps are so fugly

Vintage Target service desk!

Vintage Target service desk!

Looking out from the Target parking lot, you can see Firestone

The bright lights of a Target parking lot spotlight.


All boarded up


I'm guessing this fenced off area was for the garden center.


I think it would be kind of creepy living across the street from an abandoned Target store.


The Goodwill is tacked on to the Target store. What used to be here, if anything? You'd think the GW would just take over the Target store, unless there was something here I don't remember


Target Store #42: Staying spooky since '98


For being abandoned for 11 years, this place has held up pretty well.

White Castle

The nearby abandoned White Castle - just another Riverdale casuality.

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23 Responses to Abandoned Target Store: Coon Rapids, MN

  1. The Old Scowl on June 4, 2009 at 2:58 PM

    I’m gonna grab first dibs to comment on this entry. I can answer the first but not the second.

    1.What store was previously at the site of the Columbia Heights Rainbow Foods? See the answer at the bottom of this reply.

    2.Dumpy Strip Malls: Do you know what happened to the Target up in Maple Grove? It was right across the street from the Super WalMart, and I saw it was closed up tight about 2 weeks ago in an area that I would think would still be helping pay to keep the lights on there. I am asking you because you just wrote that you had been a long term employee (in the current job world context) of Target and might still know some persons that might know.

    Answer: Zayers Shoppers City (I think I spelled Zayers wrong though). Rainbow also bought the old Zayers site in Brooklyn Center on Brooklyn Boulevard and put up their now gone store as well.

    P.S.: Please mention the older strip malls to the south of Target that have been razed. They were opposite the Lilliputt Golf site.

    • dumpystripmalls on June 4, 2009 at 7:45 PM

      Yep, the Target Greatland up in Maple Grove off of 94, next to the Rainbow Foods was closed down a few years ago because they built a new SuperTarget near the medical clinic (hospital?) and Home Depot over near the Elm Creek area further up I-94. I think that it closed down after I left the company. I was surprised that they closed that location so quickly. It was built in the late ’90s and didn’t even last 10 years! Target’s been doing that a lot these past few years – just up and leave its current building and move a few blocks down the road. The area where the Greatland was is still pretty hoppin’, with the Wal Mart, Menards, etc up there. I’m surprised that they never put a Target near the Arbor Lakes area – that whole area is void of Target stores, which is pretty weird.

      If you’ve been up where the new Maple Grove Super Target is, it’s kind of eerie. They have a lot of new storefronts up there, but all stand empty. Now, I’m not sure how recent those storefronts were built — they could’ve been built just this year for all I know — but it’s still kind of weird seeing all of it sit vacant. It’s kind of like how a lot of the new storefronts up in Rogers stand empty, if anyone’s been up there (though I know a lot of those storefronts out in Rogers have been standing empty since about 2005…)

      Oh – and if anyone’s wondering, Target is not building any Greatland stores anymore – just SuperTargets. and regular Targets. You’ll still find some around (Brooklyn Park, two in Coon Rapids) but lots of the former Greatland stores are now Super Targets (Plymouth and Shoreview to name a few).

      I never knew we had a Zayers here in Minnesota. I’ve never been to one before. I think there was a Kmart in Columbia Heights too, around the area where the Rainbow is. I think it was bulldozed though?

      I’m guessing you’re thinking of the Coon Rapids Shopping Center, right? It was right off of CR Blvd, near Egert? I think? I know it was razed a few years ago. I don’t have much recollection of this place except thinking it was a pretty dumpy place when I’d drive by.

      I have a post almost ready to go about the dumpy mall to end all dumpy malls — the Coon Rapids Family Center Mall. I’m just waiting to get over there again and take photos of the inside – the photos that I have now are only of the outside & since it’s still open, I want to snap some of the interior too.

  2. Kate on June 4, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    The whole Coon Rapids Blvd area was targeted by the City in the late 90s for redevelopment. I think the plan had legs prior to the housing market collapse, but I’m not sure of where it’s at today. I think the whole Target area was considered a prime area for rezoning to mixed-use residential/commercial due its close proximity to commuter rail.

    Here is the City info: http://www.ci.coon-rapids.mn.us/economicdev/crbdevelopment.htm

    I don’t feel like wading through their docs, but I would guess that the City is trying to think long-range for this area instead of trying to just fill in the gaps with low-value businesses. It’s a prime site for infill development, so I would expect that the whole area will undergo some big changes in the next ten years or so.

  3. Old Time Coon Town on June 5, 2009 at 9:35 AM

    Great Post and comments! When the Coon Rapids Target opened in the mid 70s, it made The Coon Rapids Family Center (home of the Owl Theater) look ancient even then.

    Coon Rapids leaders never seemed to see a strip mall plan they didn’t like — there really never was a downtown Coon Rapids, is there? It’s just a collection of various strip malls, right?

    I bought a lot records at that Target back in the day — Beach Boys Endless Summer was the first LP I ever bought with my own money. I remember one big day when I was feeling rich I think I came home with Billy Joel’s 52nd Street and The Cars first album in one day. I would never buy clothes there. Our inside joke was if two guys happened to come to school in the same shirt was — “You can always tell when they are having a sale at Target!”

    At one time, it seemed like the area might get a little swanky when they opened a Ground Round next door, but that and a Rocky Roccoco’s closed after a few years.

    Haven’t been by the area in years, but I used to ride my bike to that Target and the Dairy Queen in front of the store with my brothers and friends. It was a place to go in the summer that was air conditioned . . . when halter tops were all the rage!

  4. Disco Studd on June 5, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    I remember the Zayre’s in Clumsy Heights! We went there a few times when my dad was a district manager for 7-Eleven, as there was a 7-Eleven store right next door to it (it was a ProEx Photo the last time I checked.) Didn’t the one in Brooklyn Center become K-Mart, then Builder’s Square before it was razed for the new Rainbow? When I was a tyke, we lived in Duluth and there was a HUGE Zayre’s Shopper’s City right off I-35 that my parents always dragged me to.

    Speaking of Duluth, I remember the Target up there had a (Target brand) grocery store attached to it, and also an auto service center sometime in the late 70′s. When we moved to the ‘Cities, I remember the old Fridley store had the same layout as the one in Duluth. Before they razed the old Fridley store, the old grocery store “half” housed a Pet Food Warehouse, and you could still see the spot where they bricked off the auto center’s service bay doors. We used to frequent the Crystal store, and I seem to remember that store having an auto center at one time (but not the attached “extra” storefront of a former grocery store.)

    I also remember at the Duluth store, they had an automatic shoe sizer in the shoe department. It was a little machine where you’d step one foot into, then these bars would come down and squeeze against your foot. There was a little scrolling display at the top that would show what size shoe fit your foot. That would always be the highlight of my trip to Target! (That and hiding inside the circular clothes racks and inside those mirrors that had 3 panels you could fold together so it was like you were inside a kaleidoscope.) Aah, memories!

  5. Dave on June 7, 2009 at 7:20 AM

    Seeing the interior of a Target from the 80′s brings back memories of using my Dayton’s card (back when they were the same company) to buy LP’s and Cassettes of the latest Crue or Poison release!

    I remember that in the 80′s the music dept leads had a lot of say in what got stocked in their stores – there were a couple that you could always find the best classics plus good new stuff in and a couple that had nothing but garbage all the time!

    It’s amazing to me how Target refreshes their stores every couple of years and does it in a way that changes things, but not in a way that smacks you over the head, unless you have before and after photos.

    I too was shocked that they abandoned the MG location so soon. I remember going there on opening day in 1999 and getting a huge goodie bag. But with Rainbow locked in next door and the only surviving Hallmark in MG next door – there wasn’t room to make it a ST or add food.

    Can’t wait to see the Coon Rapids Mall Post!


  6. jayson on June 7, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    the new target in mg is almost the same in ostego. they closed the old target in elk river and moved it down the street to a nice new location. that whole elf river area is a mess! anyways i always though coon rapids blvd has alot of potional with the walking/bike paths on the south side of cr/ blvd they need sumeone in the concil to go in there and shake some feathers i would love to see c/r blvd get sum old world lights on the bike bath some benchs and fill the old store fronts with sum new stores… just cause there is a “riverdale” does not mean coon rapids cant have 2 areas looks at maple grove! they have the new elm creek area! and then they have the area by jc pennys and then they have the arbor lakes area. i know its kinda the same area but still its a big gap from the new area the old area and then again to the new area! c/r has alot of land on c/r blvd they should do what maple grove did or hell burnesville create a new downtown… make it a place where people in the south metro are like “hey! we should hit up c/r’s and stop at the river dist and see the shops there….. i dont know i just know living close to c/r bugs me cause i hate how dumpys it is! i know the pdq gas station by my house is spooky at night now! clean up this area!!

  7. Beth on June 8, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    Yes there was a Kmart in Columbia Heights that wasn’t too far from Rainbow, about a mile or so up the road, it was torn down to make room for more condos and townhomes because you never can have too many of those! It was a weird area, the Kmart was way up on a hill, so while it was on Central Avenue, there was other stuff kind of below it because of the hill.

  8. JAYSON on June 8, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    ANYONE REMEMBER THE STORE COMBS? OR something like that there was one where circuit city was in roseville and another in oakdale sumwhere. i think later the stores name change to bell? anyone remember that?

  9. Disco Studd on June 9, 2009 at 4:10 AM

    JAYSON: Read the replies to the post about the Springbrook Mall in Coon Rapids regarding COMB. I have horrible nightmares about that place!!!

  10. Tim G on June 9, 2009 at 3:11 PM

    Geez you guys must be young! The K-mart in Columbia Heights was built on the former site of the Hilltop Outdoor Theatre where we used to go as little kids with our parents (’60′s).

    I remember the day Zayre’s burned down late ’60′s-early’70′s) and how the heat melted the rubber coating on the power lines along Central avenue in front of the store.

    I worked at the Shakey’s Pizza in the mid-late ’70′s which was tucked into the front of the hill right in front of K-mart at street level on Central, across from the the wonderful Fontaine-Bleu apartments! FLAMEBURGER ROCKS!

    Old Guy…

  11. Real Estate on June 10, 2009 at 7:31 AM

    Target in MG closed west of 94 because Ryan(the developer) promised them prime site and new Arbor Lakes storefronts along with a hospital to get them to move east of 94. It will be a big deal and good location once the hospital gets going in Dec 2009. However, the economy has changed the face of real estate (especially retail) for the next five to seven years — it takes that long to plan, permit develop and build-out centers… Big box Slumberland has already opened and closed at “The Grove”. The ghostly empty storefronts are just an indication of too many retail stores and an exhausted consumer.

    Being in the industry, its fun to read the consumer perspective at dsm.com.

  12. jayson on June 13, 2009 at 8:15 AM

    i remember shakeys pizza which they were still around i hate “big box” pizza well anyways! to the web master i guesss there use to be a strip mall where lifetime use to be it was called zayre shopping center. then kmart turned it into village 10. u should start a fourm on your site! there are 100′s of places in the anoka county area that everyone could talk about also another strip mall u left out is the northdale plaza that dump needs to go away! haha keep up the good work and look forard to more replys! also anyone remember the pizza place off of snelleing and larpenteur i remember it use to be sumthing but what?

  13. Disco Studd on June 14, 2009 at 12:57 AM

    NORTHDALE PLAZA HAS TO GO?!?!? Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?!? Okay, the only reason worth keeping it is Jensen’s Foods, but really, the place isn’t THAT shitty. Just mostly vacant, but still, it ain’t like it’s one of those malls in Crooklyn Center or anything…

  14. jayson on June 14, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    jensens sorry 4 got aobut this place! i do stop and get penuts from there! there penuts are great compare to targets or cubs this place is great. other then this store its a dump i wish coon rpaids would clean its self up

  15. 207Shawdy on June 17, 2009 at 7:43 PM

    Living in Maine, this reminds me of the situations on Western Avenue in downtown Augusta and most of Lewiston/Auburn. While the uptown sections of both Auburn and Augusta are sprawling with big box stores, the old school shopping centers are dying and turning into complete ghost towns made up of discount stores and dusty K-Marts. Fellow Mainers will know what I’m talking about.

  16. jayson on June 24, 2009 at 6:29 AM

    hey dumpy that wasnt you next to walgreens infront of the old target was it just a few days ago? there was a woman with a camara and might have been a note pad? standing in the shade? just curious! hows that family mall section going cant wait to read it….

  17. Tim G on June 24, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    Snelling and Larp was a Shakey’s too – Falcon Heights store.

  18. Justin mcconnell-luer on November 26, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    That t42 target is gone now it’s all ripped down, the trucking company I work for just haued the rubble

  19. Frank on May 11, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Wow, COMB, what a blast from the past.

    Cr blvd is Ghetto. Watch out for the Morlocks.

  20. Sara Black on May 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    They’ve built a community center here now, after they ripped all the buildings out. It looks really, really nice, and not nearly as scary anymore

  21. Coon Rapids Kid on June 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I remember when that Target store first opened! Me and my brother used to ride our bikes up there all the time. We bought tons of records and toys there back in the day. Yes, my mom bought most of our school clothes there as well! We would also hit the nearby Dairy Queen quite often, especially during the summer.

  22. Codi on July 3, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I remember seeing the movie “Career Opportunities” on a cruise ship movie theater when I was in third grade! Thought it was the coolest thing ever.

    I remember seeing the McGlynn’s bakery watching them decorate the cakes. I would always beg my mom for one of their enormous cookies with the worlds of frosting in strange pictures, but to no avail. I still have no diabetes, to this day (thanks, mom).

    I used to have a babysitter who worked at the Little Caesar’s that was attached to the end of the Target, but not part of the Target. It was on the left end, if you’re facing the building.

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