Time to Hit the Books … and Target? Chain Store Opening at UCSD

New Target store location on the campus at the University of California San Diego
AP Images for Target

That red-and-white dog is at it again.

Students and staff at UC San Diego can soon make a Target run at the school's student center.

The bottom floor of the Price Center on Gilman Drive now features a 19,000-square-foot "small scale" Target, which is small only in comparison to the typical stores that are reportedly closer to the 135,000-square-foot range.

UCSD's Target will open up to shoppers for the first time on Sunday and will employ 50 locals, many of them students at the school. Customers can grab UCSD merch, adult clothing and home goods, as well as health and beauty items, and they can also stop by the in-house CVS pharmacy or peruse a limited variety of groceries.

Target has four other smaller versions sprinkled around San Diego, as well as 22 full-size stores, with more than 4,500 workers in San Diego in total.

New Target store location on campus at the University of California San Diego. (Sandy Huffaker/AP Images for Target)

Last July, after years of opposition and support, a small-scale Target opened in San Diego's free-spirited, laid-back Ocean Beach community. Plans had been in the works since August 2017, when just the idea of putting a Target store in the beachside community stirred controversy. Some locals worried OB’s unique character would disappear in the shadow of a chain store. Other opponents were concerned that a Target would bring too much competition for surrounding businesses, possibly causing some of the smaller mom-and-pops to shutter.

Some locals, though, supported the idea of a Target in the community, saying they would love to be able to shop for household necessities without having to leave OB.

There were similar reactions to the proposal opening of a Target in North Park in March of last year. The approximately 35,200-square-foot building it would eventually be housed in has quite the history. It began as a JCPenney department store in 1942 that operated for three decades. The building went on to house other retail stores but, eventually, sat vacant from 2008 until Wang’s took over in early 2012.

With time, the reaction to both stores has been mostly positive, with many community members pleased to have the local shopping option.

At least one UCSD undergrad is looking forward to the Target. Vice President of Campus Affairs and Associated Students Hannah Kreitman told NBC 7 she was "really excited" about the Target opening on campus.

"This is my fourth year -- I'm a senior -- and until now, the closest Target to campus was a 20-minute drive and even longer by bus," Kreitman said Wednesday. "I think there are certain things that Target can offer that the other stores in the La Jolla area can't and aren't comparable."

The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native remembers exactly when her last trip to a Target was.

"Last summer I was on campus doing RA training, and there's no air-conditioning [in the dorms], and it was so hot I had to drive to Target to get a fan for my room in the middle of the night."

That Target's near the intersection of Genessee and Balboa avenues, for the record.

It seems somehow ironic yet fitting that UCSD's Target would be housed in the Price Center, which got its name from Sol Price, the San Diego founder of Price Club. The big-box biz later merged with Costco, which to many is seen as a competitor of Target's.

NBC 7 has reached out to Sol's son Robert, a San Diego resident as well, for a comment for this story, but has not heard back.

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