Senior Copy Editor
On Sunday, Oct. 20, Target held its long-awaited grand opening.
Located on Hollister Avenue, the new Target store takes over the location that was formerly home to K-Mart. Although it isn’t the first Target store in the region — a small-scale version opened in downtown Santa Barbara in April 2019 — it’s the first accessible, big retailer to settle down in the suburbs of Goleta.
The new store is approximately two miles from the UCSB campus, which makes it significantly more accessible than the downtown location. The new location, however, is perhaps too favorable.
Shoppers can expect to be greeted with the unpleasant sight of lines of cars packed behind each other, limited parking spaces, and difficulty with navigating and leaving the parking lot. Unfortunately, the former K-Mart parking lot simply isn’t built to manage the sheer quantity of consumers attracted by the typical Target store.
Target’s unpleasant parking experience is luckily made up for by its selection and size. In comparison to the Target in downtown Santa Barbara, the Hollister store is significantly larger and more conducive to casual shopping. This location features a wide selection of items that are typical to large-scale Targets, which include household items, electronics, clothing, and food. The location is even home to its own optometric center, which offers eye exams, glasses, and contact lenses.
The new Target store most notably excels in offering an affordable, high-quality selection of items that are sold by specialty stores in the area, such as Ross and Staples. The store offers trendy home decor, a comprehensive selection of new electronics and books, affordable school supplies, gift items, and a plentiful makeup section. Customers who would usually have to drive to multiple stores to meet their shopping needs can instead schedule a one-stop trip to Target.
Shoppers familiar with large-scale Target locations, however, will be slightly disappointed by the size of this store. With its low ceiling and cramped aisles, the Hollister location isn’t nearly as spacious as most suburban Target stores. The grand-opening crowds and shopping cart traffic jams further added to the difficulty of navigating the store.
How does it measure up to its nearby competitor Albertsons in price? While Target was generally cheaper for household items and toiletries like shampoo ($6.49 vs. $7.49 for Head & Shoulders shampoo), it was actually on-par or more expensive for food items. A 16-count box of frozen Foster Farms corn dogs sold for $8.99 at Target and $8.49 at Albertsons. For a pack of refrigerated sausage brand Lit’l Smokies, both stores listed the same price.
Price, however, isn’t the main factor for many individuals who shop at Target. “I’d honestly pay more for Target,” said fourth year art major Vy Nguyen in an interview with The Bottom Line. “It’s more about the ambience and experience.”
That much is true. The interior of the store is bright, its selection and branding is modern and colorful, and the store is also home to a hard-working and large staff. I had no issue with finding employees to assist with any of my questions. And despite the large crowds, going to Target felt refreshing and fun, almost like a field trip.
While Target is more expensive than some of its counterparts in the area, it fulfills the long-needed demand for a one-stop, relatively-affordable center for a variety of items. Shoppers can expect to pay for an experience at Target — one that I’d say definitely meets the mark.