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Starbucks, Target Have Urban State of Mind

SEATTLE and MINNEAPOLIS — Two major retailers are focusing on cities for future expansion. Both Starbucks and Target have announced plans to add locations in urban areas, according to media reports.

Starbucks plans to open stores in 15 diverse, low-to-medium-income urban communities across the United States, with at least five stores expected to open in 2016, the company said. They will be a key strategy in achieving Starbucks' goal of hiring 10,000 Opportunity Youth (young people between the ages of 16-24 who face systemic barriers to meaningful jobs and education) and the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative's collective goal of hiring 100,000 Opportunity Youth by 2018.

The first of these stores will open in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago; the West Florissant neighborhood of Ferguson, Mo.; the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, N.Y.; Milwaukee, and a remodeled store at 7th and Camelback in Phoenix.

Each of these locations will have an onsite training space. Starbucks will also partner with local youth services organizations and the government to leverage existing programs that help connect youth with internships, apprenticeships and jobs in the community, and foster the type of dialogue and engagement needed for continued social change.

"We have a long history of developing stores in diverse neighborhoods and we hope to do even more — together with the community — to bring great jobs, engage young people and drive economic opportunity for all," stated Blair Taylor, chief community officer for Starbucks and chair of the Starbucks Foundation. "We want to be part of the solution in these communities and help create a sustainable future for those who may be looking for a second chance."

On average, Starbucks will hire 20 to 25 employees per store from the local community. It plans to collaborate with local women- and minority-owned contractors and businesses in the stores' design and development, and work with women- and minority-owned suppliers to bring locally made food products to them.

In order to determine which communities make a good fit for this store concept, Starbucks examines all the available data on the socio-economic health of America's cities to understand which communities have the biggest opportunity gaps, which have the biggest need for business investment and leadership, and where there is local movement underway to build a better future for its residents, the company said.

It plans to accelerate the development of these stores over the next three years and has a goal of opening in at least 10 additional cities by 2018. Starbucks will then monitor the success of the stores for continued adoption. 

Meanwhile, Target is expanding its concept store program, CityTarget, which is designed to bring the Target experience to urban customers, reported Business Insider.

CityTarget stores are typically smaller than traditional Target stores, ranging in size from 80,000 to 160,000 square feet. However, they are among Target's highest traffic locations, according to the company.

A new CityTarget is scheduled to open in Boston near Fenway Park at the end of July. Unlike other locations, it will be larger than a regular Target store, occupying 160,000 square feet. The location's proximity to Fenway appealed to the company, and it was a major factor in the development and structuring of the store, officials said.

"The opportunity to be in such a prominent location near Fenway and near a T stop was really appealing to us," stated Kamau Witherspoon, Target's senior director of store operations. "Now, many of our urban guests have to travel a long distance outside the city to reach a Target."

The new store will include Fenway-inspired decor, stadium seats and Red Sox merchandise.

Eight CityTarget stores currently operate in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Chicago. After the Boston location opens, the next CityTarget is scheduled to open in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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