by Joni Astrup
Major changes are being proposed to the former Target store in Elk River.
Furniture Outlets USA, which owns the space, plans to turn it into two furniture stores and a third tenant space for a national retailer, according to Gordy Wallenstein, president of Furniture Outlets USA.
The furniture stores would be an Ashley Furniture HomeStore and a Furniture Mart. No lease has yet been signed for the third tenant space.
Jim Heinitz, CEO of Furniture Outlets USA, told the Elk River Planning Commission last week that Jo-Ann, a fabric and craft store, is interested in about 18,000 square feet of space.
Meanwhile, overall plans for the old Target store call for dividing it up and having three main entrances.
“It will be a very substantial investment. Just the facade is going to be a total makeover from what’s existing there,” Wallenstein said. “It’s going to be a beautiful addition to that center.”
The Elk River City Council is expected to consider signage and landscaping related to the matter at a meeting Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Furniture Mart
The Ashley Furniture HomeStore would carry all Ashley furniture, Wallenstein said.
Ashley is the largest home furnishings manufacturer and retailer in the world, he said.
Furniture Outlets USA already has several Ashley Furniture HomeStores in the Twin Cities area, including one in Albertville.
In addition, the company just opened an Ashley Furniture HomeStore and a Furniture Mart in St. Cloud in a former Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Company officials see the renovation of the former Elk River Target as similar to that St. Cloud project.
Next to the new Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Elk River would be the Furniture Mart, which would carry a full line of furniture with various brands including Lane and Broyhill, Wallenstein said.
The old Target entrance would become the Furniture Mart entrance.
Furniture Outlets is family-owned
Furniture Outlets USA is a family-owned company based in Sioux Falls, S.D., which has 32 furniture stores in the Midwest.
The former Elk River Target currently is a furniture liquidation center for the company.
Wallenstein said when the new furniture stores are complete it will be a “total transformation” from what is there now, which he said is more of a warehouse atmosphere.
“It will blossom into a beautiful, fully accessorized showroom that will rival anything in the market, and at very, very competitive prices,” he said. “We’re excited about getting open as a full-line furniture store where we have more to offer.”
The Target store opened in Elk River in 1995 at 19146 Freeport Ave., in what was then the new Elk Park Center shopping center. The Elk River Target closed in October 2008. A new SuperTarget store opened a few days later in Otsego.