Target Introduces New Program With Mini Pop-Ups at Press Preview

By Jim Shi January 17, 2012, 2:40 PM EST

Photo: Dan D’Errico

Shops at Target Press Conference
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To trumpet the next chapter in its designer concept program evolution, the Shops at Target, the retail giant took a simple, straightforward approach and converted a raw space into individual vignettes to introduce five new guest boutique collaborators.

On Thursday at Highline Stages in the meatpacking district, longtime Target collaborators David Stark Design and Production erected themed tableaux—not all that different from the pop-up shops the mass retailer has become known for—each meant to emphasize the new breadth and diversity the corporation hopes will take its designer collaboration to the next level. Likened to small boutiques, the new initiative will launch May 6 and run for six weeks, with a different set of stores rolling in come fall. The program is slated to continue through 2013.

The Shops at Target allows the retailer to extend its design partnerships into new categories, and to that end, each pop-up at the event was designed around the array of wares from each of the local shops. For instance, an enormous scoop decorated the display for products from San Francisco’s Candy Store, while an outdoorsy scene with a miniature white picket fence and doghouse marked the section for the dog accessories from Boston’s Polka Dog Bakery. To tie it all together, Target placed oversize signage showcasing each boutique's logo at the entrance, and a large screen at the far end of the room, flanked by cushioned bench seating, played a running loop of a video that introduced the roots of each participating brand.

According to the first group of collaborators, Target’s in-house team scoured the country to select the right balance of boutiques. Each store was approached about a year ago after Target narrowed the list down to five.

Yum Yum Chefs provided the catering for the press event, serving turkey-meatball skewers with sesame-soy glaze, snow peas, and sweet peppers; pissaladiere with Stilton blue cheese, fig compote, and fresh thyme; caramelized onion tartlets; and, for dessert, Ghirardelli chocolate-covered strawberries. For drinks, there was non-alcoholic guava spritzer with sparkling grape juice.

To support this massive initiative, Target has created dedicated marketing campaigns with the tag line, “The shops we stumbled upon and couldn't help but fall in love with.” Special signage will also be erected on the façades of all Target stores.

Target will continue with its separate designer collaborations. Next up is the Jason Wu for Target collection, launching to the public on February 5.

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