Madison Kirkpatrick and Jade Martinez-Pogue
Growing up in Northern California, my daily commute consisted of passing parks with green grass, huge trees, and a big red Target building on almost every corner. Target stores were such a staple to my childhood life that one of the saddest parts about moving to Santa Barbara for school was its clear lack of Target stores.
When I heard the news of Target taking over the old Kmart in Goleta, I was through the roof excited. When the new location popped up on State Street earlier than anyone was expecting, I could not wait to make my first Target trip in my college town.
On April 7, the Target store in Santa Barbara opened its doors to the public. Community excitement led the city to open the long awaited shop. However, it certainly has not been a hit with everybody. The store has gotten mixed reviews from consumers, and an article by the Santa Barbara Independent takes issue with some aspects of the new store, including lack of parking and merchandise.
The new Target store is on the small side compared to most of the Targets I have visited, but it tries to make up for this by having two stories instead of one. The lower level consists of food items, home decor, and clothing. The upstairs section had toys, makeup, and toiletries. The two-story building makes possible my favorite feature of this new location — the cart escalator.
Because everyone knows you can’t just buy one thing at Target, oftentimes customers walk around the store with a cartload of items. This appears to pose the problem of how you get the cart to the upstairs section.
This Target installed a cart escalator to help transport your items from one level to another. All you do is push your cart through the doors and it follows a track paralleling the normal escalator. The joy gained from watching your cart go up an escalator by itself while standing to the side is a strange pleasure that I never knew I craved.
Despite the thrill of being Santa Barbara’s first Target and the amazing cart-escalator, there are a few ways in which the new store is lacking. While the store has added space from the second story, both levels are so compacted that it makes navigating the crowded store with a cart difficult.
To add on to the spatial issues, the parking lot is small and hard to pull into. Because this location is on State Street, most students visiting the store will have to drive there. This creates a problem when the store is crowded, as it is easy to imagine the stress of parking making one’s trip slightly worse.
Another issue is its stock. I wish there was a wider selection of merchandise and more of it. The alcohol section takes up a significant amount of space that could otherwise be shared with more widely accessible, all-ages items.
What they have is beneficial, but it would be nice to have more things like frozen and canned foods, which are things that can be stored for a long time. This would especially be helpful for college students who tend to purchase non-perishable foods.
It might help if it were located in a more convenient location. Though the bus drops off right in front of the store, there is a long bus commute to get there. As someone who rides the bus, it upsets me that I have to spend 20 minutes traveling to an obscure location. The distance can be an issue if you need something immediately and you are on a budget.
Despite the minor flaws in the design of this Target, having a location in Santa Barbara is exciting. Having added another option to convenience-department stores in the area, Target’s opening is something to be enthusiastic about.
The store does not mean much for UCSB besides students who love Target like myself. It certainly has its issues, but it will suffice until the Goleta store opens.
However, it may be a trip you only want to make occasionally depending on your personality and needs. It is up to each individual person if it’s worth it. I will continue to go but I will be much more excited to see the Goleta store open.