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Allison Schatell & Kimberly Wilson/MEDILL

Target is bringing it's first "pop-up" store to the Midwest to get people talking about its brand.

Magnificent Mile hosts first Chicago Target 'pop-up' store

by Allison Schatell and Kimberly Wilson
May 06, 2009

Shoppers looking for something new this weekend can find it on Michigan Avenue at Chicago’s first Target Corp. “pop-up” store adjacent to the Tribune Tower.

The Minneapolis-based company opens its three-day “Bullseye Bazaar” event Thursday, giving shoppers an opportunity to be the first to buy Target’s newest brands this season in a boutique store experience. The company’s first store of this type in the Midwest, the event is part of Target’s marketing campaign geared toward brand building.

“The overall goal of a pop-up store like the Bullseye Bazaar isn’t to generate sales,” Target spokesman Joshua Thomas said. “It’s really a buzz marketing tool. It is really about generating exciting and word of mouth buzz about Target.”

For a company trying to gain visibility among Chicagoans, the Magnificent Mile provides the access to do so. Target is likely to benefit from the traffic on Michigan Avenue, particularly on Mother’s Day weekend, said John C. Chikow, president of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association. “I think they will contribute to what is happening on the avenue this weekend.”

For the past six years, Target has been surprising urban shoppers in places like Los Angeles and New York with a variation of the store, which is personalized for a particular region with products appropriate for the season. The Michigan Avenue store has the latest spring fashions, along with home furnishings, beauty products, and food.

Target hopes to appeal to customers with an eclectic mix of items from some of its exclusive designers, such as Tracy Feith and Felix Rey. Free one-on-one style consultations and time with a celebrity make-up artist will also be available.

The retailer is attempting to reach consumers who might opt for a bargain in this economy in a shopping area that tends to carry high-end price tags. Target has tailored its product selection to match thrifty shoppers by featuring items from its Archer Farm food brand. It’s also offering fresh produce such as oranges and peppers that come marked with the retailer’s recognizable bull’s-eye tag.

“I think they want to show people on Michigan Avenue that it is a viable alternative,” said Eric T. Anderson, marketing professor at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

The company isn’t focusing on short-term gains with the stores, Anderson said. “They are more about exposure and building the Target brand,” he said.

The variety of Target products displayed had many shoppers interested Wednesday.

“I am looking forward to checking out what is new and different that I haven’t seen yet,” said Chicagoan Donna Brucks, who shops at Target.

The store will be open Thursday through Saturday.