Roslindale residents, merchants want Target to lose the food, add more office supplies to impending store

Target's Aaron Hemquist at Roslindale meeting

Target's Aaron Hemquist talks about proposed Roslindale store.

Some 50 Roslindale residents and Roslindale Square business owners had a pretty clear request for Target officials tonight: Replace the food aisles in their proposed replacement for the Washington Street Staples with office supplies or even more clothes, because they don't want to see the nearby Village Market - a cornerstone of the village's revival - driven out of business.

And ditto for the planned mini-CVS in a neighborhood that has one of New England's last remaining independent pharmacies and which is just a mile or so away from a full-service CVS.

"Don't push our market out," state Rep. Liz Malia told two Target officials and their real-estate lawyer at the meeting at the Roslindale Community Center, organized by Roslindale Village Main Street.

Target recently announced it will open a small-scale store next March where the Staples is closing next month.

The new store, about the size of two basketball courts, rather than the two football fields of a full-size Target, will focus on what Roslindale's young families and homeowners need, according to Mark Hokanson, Target's new-store development lead. So expect plenty of clothes, the latest in electronic gadgets and enough home furnishings to tide somebody over until they can get to a full-sized Target, he said.

And in response to a common request he's heard so far, "we will carry socks, I promise," he said.

Fans of the neighboring Dunkin' Donuts have nothing to worry about - as a condition of their lease with the owner of both the Dunkin' Donuts and the impending Target, the chain will not be installing a Starbucks.

Residents applauded Target for bringing non-boutique clothing back to Roslindale - which has not had a clothing store since the JB Edwards uniform store moved to West Roxbury a couple years ago - along with home goods and the like.

But residents pleaded with Target not to add a food department that, while not a full-fledged supermarket, could jeopardize the Village Market, which residents and store owners credited with being the catalyst for the revival of Roslindale Square more than 20 years ago. They urged Target to recognize the unique village makeup of the area, an area full of small shop owners catering to people who moved there in part because of its village feel - and an area, they said, that needs office supplies for local businesses and at-home workers more than another place to buy bananas.

"We worked so hard to get this supermarket in this community," Barbara Lottero, executive director of the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center said.

Resident Alan Wright threatened to lead a boycott of a Target with food.

Residents made a similar push on the proposed pharmacy.

Courtney Feeley Karp said she will love being able to shop locally for onesies for her toddler rather than driving to the Westwood Target. But she said she's not going to be very happy if the pharmacy harms Sullivan's, where she now goes to get the specially compounded medications her daughter needs.

Karp said small stores like Sullivan's are part of what make Roslindale Square special - a village where people can walk from shop to shop. "We relish it," she said of the village nature of the shopping area, adding that while she's willing to drive to Westwood for onesies, she wouldn't want to live there.

But while nobody at the meeting said they wanted the food, several said they would love to see Target bolster its office-supply offerings to replace what they said was the best part of Staples for them. Glenn Williams said it would be great if Target could even add in copy and print services, to replace the ones that will go away with Staples.

On all the requests, Hokanson was, at best, non-committal. Although he acknowledged that neither food nor the pharmacy were one of the chain's four main "pillars" - "baby," "kids," "wellness" and "style" - he said they were a key convenience for people who come in for one thing, then decide to pick up some food or a prescription. In fact, he said it might be difficult for the store to meet revenue goals without them. But he said he'd bring the suggestions back with him to Target headquarters in Minnesota.



Free tagging: 


Cen sq

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How does this compare with the target in central sq cambridge? Size wise?

Nearly identical:

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Nearly identical:
Roslindale: 21,500 sq ft.
Cambridge: 21,000 sq ft.
Comm ave: 16,000 sq ft.
Fenway: 160,000 sq ft.

How about a copy and print

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How about a copy and print service, while they're at it.

Also, binders. An aisle of binders.

That was requested

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Target guy said they'd look into it, but said Target doesn't currently offer that anywhere so he'd have to figure out which vendor might offer that and how it would work.

So basically...

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They want the Staples back even though it failed there?

That's what I thought too..

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That's what I thought too.. they want to replace the Staples with a Target that's a Staples.

I'm no longer excited for this.


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Who knows better what will sell in that location, the company who is in the business of selling as much as possible and making money, or the local residents?

I've always thought that if I

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I've always thought that if I were to open a business in JP, it'd be an office supply store.

Hercules Press

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.Yeah I know it's in WR but,Great place for copy,print,design services and the Owner and Staff live in Roslindale.

Maybe Hercules could set up a little corner

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If there REALLY was sufficient demand for print and copy services, maybe Target could carve out a small corner for a manned Hercules booth. I doubt that it would bring in enough revenue to cover the salary of someone standing there 8 hours a day, but maybe like 10 to 3 Mon-Sat?

Nahh, it could simply cost too much.

Hercules Press is 2.5 miles or 11 minutes away from Target. That is the solution.

I'm honestly surprised nobody

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I'm honestly surprised nobody has set up some kind of co-working, shared office space around the square - if that happens I could easily see a little print and copy area working as part of the setup. Doing it as a retail standalone just doesn't have the customer base.

Somebody is working on that

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But, of course, with a mind like a steel sieve, I have no details (I think I've seen posts in the Quirky Facebook group).

At least last night, though, people said there's plenty of demand for office supplies - from all the businesses in the square itself, along with places such as the Brooke school. At least the way people were talking last night, it seemed like one of the Staples's problems was that people were using it just for office supplies and copy and print - nobody asked for Target to stock large sheets of construction paper and Keurig machines.

Checkmate neighbor

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There was one listed at one time for the mini-office tower behind Checkmate Cafe at one point. Not sure if it ever opened though.

Mini-office tower?

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I think it was open briefly before fading away. This is a different person.

Good info

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they should put it in the vacant space above Romanos. Central, doesn't take up retail/storefront business spot, etc...

Probably smells like a pizza oven up there I'd guess.

They did!

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They only lasted a few months. Rozzi Cowork. Around May 2015 my wife needed a place to work for a few days and I reached out to them. They guy said he was moving to [some other city] and that the business was closing.

Bravo and Ughhh

Bravo to neighbors and friends for standing up for Roslindale Square. I am sorry I couldn't attend this meeting but I had every confidence that Roslindale would be well represented. While I cringe at the idea of a store like Target coming into out neighborhood, I have missed the likes of Ashmont (in all its good and bad), the clothing equivalent of Ashmont, and a local office supplies place. The size of the current Staples is so small, I don't know how all the needs and options can be satisfied. That said, it Target truly listens to the neighbors, respects the adjacent businesses, and becomes part of our neighborhood and not a disruption, I will personally drop my resistance and say Thank You!!!!

FWIW: Don't forget the courage it took of Kimberly and Chris to open FORNAX which if memory serves me, opened 1 year before the Village Market. And I am an avid and frequent customer of both places!!!!

While it scares me that what makes Roslindale Square so unique could face a serious challenge, I am hopeful that the strength of our neighbors will make sure it does not crumble.

Bravo to All!!!!

Here's an idea

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Maybe the Village Market should have more competitive prices.

Sounds like "something d-o-o

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Sounds like "something d-o-o economics"... There is no way an independent neighborhood market can compete price-wise in the long term with a giant like Target and its economies of scale. That's the whole reason the community wants to intervene.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods which is widely known to have extremely high prices manages to exist just fine even with "discount" supermarkets near by. Target isn't even a real supermarket and they stock only a fraction of what would find at a better place.

People are willing to pay more for perceived quality or service. If the market in question is as good as people say, it will survive even if it can't compete with prices for Hot Pockets.

Village Market

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I used to like shopping there. It has always been convenient. Now it's old dirty and expensive. I go out of my way to avoid it with so many better options.. They need some competition. Target is a business. They will stock what customers demand that offers them a decent profit. Boycotts don't work. VM needs to step up their game..

Not just demand

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I don't know about Target, but sometimes a store will choose its products or prices specifically to attack existing nearby businesses.

Once nearby competition is driven out of business, the new store then can adjust its offerings for demand and profitability.

The big quesiton

it's always a fine line between healthy competition and using the power of a chain to undercut someone. Everyone protests the Starbucks going in, but if the local shops were that good, why would people leave the local shops to go to starbucks? Or do people to just because they know the name "Starbucks"...

So here, if the local pharmacy offers great service, people will stay there. Or do people just care about cost and not service and may flock next door. how do you determine that beforehand? Or, in general, how do you get people to 'go local' before going chain?


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As far as filling prescriptions goes, I cannot imagine anyone who is a Sullivan's prescription customer switching to the CVS at Target. Most everyone has insurance, so the co-pay will not change. If you are getting compounded items at Sullivan's, CVS simply doesn't offer that. Maybe if you live closer to Target and get something monthly like thyroid or birth control pills and it's 3 blocks closer, OK you might switch, but I seriously don't think it will be a huge negative for Sullivan's. (Also, Sullivan's delivers...let's see Target match that!)

agree, my impression is

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agree, my impression is Sullivan's is very very good for people who get prescriptions filled.

as somebody who only goes to a pharmacy to get OTC stuff, I've never been particularly impressed with the selection or prices. Plus there's a lot of other random things that I usually like to pick up while getting my cough drops or nasal sprays or whatever (bandaids, menstrual stuff, chapstick). I will probably start using the target/cvs more for these kind of trips, even though it's on the other side of the square.

but I don't see Sullivan's losing much of the behind the counter business.

I try to get my prescriptions

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I try to get my prescriptions at Skenderian's in Cambridge, but my current insurance forces me to go to a major chain, or the insurance company's own mail-order pharmacy.

Price, quality, and convenience

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It's a good question. I live closer to Sullivan's than CVS, but I fill my prescriptions at CVS because it's convenient to have the option to fill a prescription at the CVS close to my work. Or to be able to fill a prescription after 1pm on a Sunday or after 7pm on a weekday.

I drive to Stop and Shop for most groceries because the meat I've bought at VM goes bad quickly, and the produce isn't as fresh. I stopped shopping at Harvest because the dairy was spoiled within a couple days of opening it, consistently (they told to me they didn't have enough staff to unpack shipments so food sometimes sat out for awhile).

Also, while there are some benefits to supporting local businesses, chains also offer better employee benefits. When I worked full time or nearly full time at a popular mom and pop coffee shop, I didn't get benefits. I would absolutely support a Starbucks coming to Roslindale if it brought good jobs and benefits to local residents.

I stopped shopping at Harvest

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I stopped shopping at Harvest because the dairy was spoiled within a couple days of opening it, consistently (they told to me they didn't have enough staff to unpack shipments so food sometimes sat out for awhile).

WH manger to employee:

Homer, stop sitting around and go change the expiration dates on the dairy products.

Public Albanian Club

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Someone should have also demanded a public Albanian club for the rest of us since we obviously can't go to the private one.

It's been very interesting to see how retail has really been supplanted by service and food. For all the championing, what's the last local retail business that opened up? The jerks at the microbrew place I guess. Otherwise we've gotten a coffee place, a chiropractor and the social club. That's the future of local storefront renters for sure. As such while I hope Sullivans and VM are fine, having a large retail store added to the neighborhood is a net plus.

Wouldn't Sullivans and Target have the same prices?

I hope you're kidding!

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The guys at the new beer place are lovely!! So helpful and enthusiastic!


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I've been waiting for a reference to the Private Albanian Club. Nothing against them. It just seemed that they opened up shop and no one seemed to notice.

Here's my question

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Why didn't they just take over the presumably more appealing space above Romanos? It has windows and everything.


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That's the Greek American Soccer Club's clubhouse.

Not to be confused with the Hellenic Soccer Club above Imperial Kitchen across the street.

Between these 3, the Sons of Italy, and the Emerald Society, we've got good ethnic representation in the Square.

What what what?!

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Perhaps it's time for me to found my own Greek soccer club. I will call it Panathanaikos.

How could they be gone? They were a powerhouse back in the day.

Interesting points

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I agree it would be a real shame to hurt the villiage market and hopefully they will consider a peaceful coexistence. That said I also agree that the village market should up its game in terms of cleanliness and order. More super market, less bodega. As for Sullivan's we need not worry. Sullivan's is mostly a compounding and long term care pharmacy with some specialty in the mix. Retail pharmacy is not their main dish. Target/CVS will not eat into that business by having a physical presence in the village. I cannot wait until Target opens. It will be a great addition to the mix and an excellent reuse of that building.

Not really competition

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I can't imagine that a Target so small is going to devote enough of their limited floor space to groceries that they will be in direct competition with a store that is 100% devoted to groceries. The Target guy even said that groceries wasn't one of their main focal areas. The square footage for groceries in that Target will likely be smaller than a 7-11, and stocked with the same kinds of things you'd find at a convenience store. Are people clamoring for the 7-11 on Centre St. to be put out of business? It'll be a place to pick up milk or a frozen pizza, not do a full weekly shopping.

Baby stuff will sell well here

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It's not easy for young families with small children to hike all the way out to suburban shopping centers for baby supplies. No other stores in the surrounding zip codes carry this line of merchandise. Roslindale Village doesn't need any more aisles of food, which we have already at Village Market, Droubi Bros., Roslindale Fish Market, Tony's Market and the nearby Stop & Shop, Harvest Co-op and Roche Bros. Target should look at the unmet retail demand in the area and adjust their corporate cookie cutter big box formula and sell to that.


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Well, not everyone who visits Village Market is so enthralled. Checking out some on-line reviews, there were plenty of less than enthusiastic comments. It appears that VM is pricy (no surprise there).

What these 50 friend of Roslindale Village don't seem to understand is that it is not all about them. Rozzie has many people who have limited incomes, who also need food and they need it cheaper than a small market can offer. If VM has the clientele who can afford its prices, they will do ok. The rest can same money at shopping at Target.

Also, can we drop this whole "village" thing. Roslindale Village used to be Rozzie Square. Dedham Square is also called Dedham Village by some people who think they live in rural England. Give it a rest.

Why the hate

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Why do you care so much whether someone calls
It the square or the village or both? Give it a rest already. I've lived here for 10+ years and people have called it the village and the square. By "people use to cal it Rozzie square" I assume you mean in the 80s and 90s which is basically ancient history at this point. People also used to call it a shit hole because it was. Then the locals formed Roslindale Village Main Streets and made it nice again.

Well worn topic

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.. but my impression is that the people who go to these meetings and bemoan the building of housing or 'corporate pet food stores' are not overly concerned about real local poor people. Abstract social justice for poor people in general absolutely but not their neighbors.

The people

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who have time for these meetings are usually not working a paycheck-to-paycheck type of job. Community meetings often overlap with the hours that lower paid or service-sector employees are actually at work.

Grumpy much

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This meeting was at 7 p.m. It wasn't like some city-council meeting at 10 a.m. downtown.

You're proving his point. He

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You're proving his point. He said the meetings are usually at times "service-sector employees are actually at work", i.e. retail, restaurants, etc. Not 9-5 jobs. Someone who works at a restaurant is probably more likely to be available at 10 am than at 7 pm.

What's with the sudden

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What's with the sudden explosion of mini Targets? Is this happening in other parts of the country too?


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One of the Target people said they're specifically targeting urban neighborhoods, college campuses (there's one at BU now) and the denser suburban villages. So the car-oriented Westwood gets a traditional big Target, while Cambridge and Roslindale get the fun-sized versions.

There is a void

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People need a place that they can just go and get toilet paper, a tube for a bike tire, a small appliance, a comforter and other random household items without having a car and driving into the suburbs to get it.

Bring it on

As far as I'm concerned we should be happy that the neighborhood is healthy enough to attract a Target. Just a few weeks ago I was reading lots of comments postulating that the staples building would be sitting empty for a long time.

Oh Yeah

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I would have predicted it would sit there vacant for 3 years and then it would become a gym, which would fail after about a year, and then it would volley back and forth between vacant and having stupid tenants, until they finally knocked it down during the next housing boom (in like 15 years) to put in apartments.

Welcome Target!

More retail

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I'm not really that opposed to healthy competition for VM, but I do hope that the Target focuses at least partly on more retail like clothing, basic housewares, books/movies/music, maybe some simple furniture. Sports/toys as well, there are a lot of families in Roslindale! The only place to get things like clothing or toys in the immediate area right now is the Family Dollar, which is not really a comparison to what you see stocked in Target.


"clothing, basic housewares, books/movies/music, maybe some simple furniture. Sports/toys"

? you just described like every target i've been in

Will the residents who are

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Will the residents who are already complaining actually shop at the Target that they demand carries specific items? Or will they simply order them from Amazon or Walmart after realizing it's cheaper over there than at that Target?

I didn't hear a commitment from the residents that were speaking up that they'd be doing more of their clothes and other goods shopping at that Target.

My guess is price wins, Amazon sells more and that Target gets closed in the first round of store closings after Target sees their first year over year sales figures. After that I'm sure those residents will be happy to see that store empty until they next entity comes to listen to their demands.

In Central Square, I'm glad

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In Central Square, I'm glad to see CVS and Walgreens face some competition for health/personal care stuff. And it's great to have a place for basic clothing since the Gap closed.

But for housewares and hardware, I'd be pretty unhappy if Economy and Pill were forced out.

I'm not too impressed with Target's food selection, even at full-size targets.

I think these complaints

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I think these complaints about it competing with the Village Market for groceries are moot... even the bigger Targets don't stock enough food to replace a full grocery store. Sure, when I'm at Target I might grab a couple cups of Ben & Jerry's because they have Target-exclusive flavors, and I might grab a couple bags of snack-type things, but it doesn't have nearly enough to replace my regular shopping trips, and I never go there specifically for food.

Hell, the Somerville one doesn't even have meat or produce.

What level of groceries do these mini-Targets actually have? I've only been to the Central one and don't recall what it had, but I can't imagine they actually have a full-service grocery section.

Mini-Target groceries

What level of groceries do these mini-Targets actually have?

Based on the Comm Ave/BU store:

Mostly "grab-n-go", snack foods, soda, some canned goods. The mini-Targets also have a disappointingly small clothing selection, which is the main thing I shop for at Target.

Not Really

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Because you can shop at Village Market all you want to keep it in business, but what if a bunch of other people defect to Target? The system the people who want to keep Village Market are proposing would force indifferent Target shoppers to get their produce at VM if they want to shop in the neighborhood they live in. I find it strange that you can tell a Target what to sell like that, but it's way more effective than one person being loyal.

Love VM ...

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but I can't afford it most of the time. As a single mother if I were only to shop at the village market, farmers market, tony's etc I would not be able to keep food on the table. While I have access to a car now and can easily cart groceries from Stop & Shop not everyone is in that position. And hauling groceries for multiple people on the bus is hard! Not to mention time consuming. I have done it for 10 years. I understand VM has to charge more than the S&S or a Target would, that goes without saying. However, there are some oddball products they could lose in their store to bring in more affordable options for Rozzie neighbors like me. I would welcome some food items from Target. I recently paid $5 for one cabbage at VM that is insane. I wish I could only shop at the village market but it just isn't possible. It is quite possibly the friendliest grocery store I have been in. I hope it doesn't hurt the business of the market but I do hope it causes them to adjust their current setup. AS for Sullivan's I go there for specialty prescriptions for my mother. They are wonderful! Since there is already a CVS up the road I feel like it wouldn't make a difference. If people want to go to CVS they will go to CVS whether its up the street or around the corner. Once again Sullivan's is great for prescrips but the over the counter first aid needs etc are lacking. Family Dollar is a crapshoot on what over the counter they have and so is VM. All in all it is a mixed bag of feelings, but a Target with or without food is still better than another Empty building.

It's amazing to me how

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anyone would be against this kind of development on neighborhood 'main street' that's been dying for half a century. Boston and Roslindale are lucky Target want to invest here at such a local level.

And if the sole supermarket in the square is in danger of going out of business due to Target selling one groceries nearby, what doe that say about them? They need to up their game and compete with which Target will offer. I don't wish either bad luck and hope both businesses do well.