Target’s liquor store on Nicollet Mall will open Friday, in time to join the party for the first Sunday of liquor sales in Minnesota.
It has been built in the space formerly occupied by the cafe serving up popcorn and hot dogs inside Target’s downtown store next to its corporate headquarters. The addition of the liquor store, which has its own entrance, is part of the $10 million renovation of the two-story big-box store.
Beer and wine have been a booming business for Target. While its overall grocery sales have been sliding, adult beverages was Target’s fastest growing division last year, said company spokeswoman Kristy Welker.
This year, Target plans to expand its adult beverage business in more than 300 stores by adding more shelf space for it, remodeling some departments and pursuing new liquor licenses, she said.
Craft beer, in particular, has been a standout performer for Target, especially as the retailer has localized its assortments in various parts of the country. A couple of years ago, it created a new job at headquarters of a regional beer buyer.
On top of that, at a meeting with investors earlier this year, Target executives said they are giving individual store managers more control in adjusting their store’s beer lineup in order based on their customers’ tastes.
About a third of the Nicollet Mall store’s craft beer selection will be from regional breweries such as Surly, Indeed, Summit, Leinenkugel’s and Fargo Brewing. In total, it will carry about 2,000 different items, about half of them wine.
The Nicollet Mall store will be the eighth Target Wine & Spirits shop in Minnesota, where the retailer has 75 big-box stores. The liquor stores have separate entrances in keeping with state laws.
Target recently revived an attempt to secure a liquor license at its Hwy. 7 SuperTarget in Minnetonka after its first application was rejected in 2015. Last month, it asked city leaders to delay a vote on the matter as its chances dimmed after Total Wine was granted a license. Target officials hinted then they would look into buying a local liquor store, as Total Wine recently did, to address concerns the city has enough places to buy alcohol.
Welker said Target is trying to address potential options and outstanding questions with the City Council.
“We remain committed to offering our guests in Minnetonka the convenience of a one-stop shopping experience where they can buy beer, wine and spirits while on their Target run,” she said in an e-mail.
Target started selling alcohol in its stores in 1996 and now offers beer, wine and liquor in about 1,400 of its 1,800 stores nationwide. It first started doing so in Minnesota in 2014 with a liquor store in Otsego.
While Minnesota has long outlawed liquor sales on Sunday, lawmakers agreed to lift the ban this year. This Sunday will be the first time stores will be able to sell alcohol in the state.
The downtown Target store, where the renovation is expected to be completed by September, is in the first wave of 600 stores Target is planning to remodel over the next few years as the retailer hopes to bring back shoppers and reverse declining sales. About 110 stores are getting makeovers this year.
Around the Twin Cities, the St. Paul Midway location and the St. Louis Park store near Hwy. 100 also received remodels this year; 22 other stores are getting smaller updates such as adding more self-checkout lanes.
The remodeled downtown store will not have a cafe when it is finished, but it will have a remodeled Starbucks on the second floor. It will also have a revamped grocery area with new displays and more “grab-and-go” meals as well as new lighting, wood plank walls and a dedicated counter to pickup online orders.
The store has remained open through the construction, which began in March.