By Matt Johnson
Attention former Kmart shoppers: your blue light specials are turning into red bullseyes!
Target is taking over the vacant Wall Township Kmart, expanding the store into a 91,000-square-foot spot, just the latest change to the area as the ShopRite moves across the intersection of Route 35 and 18th Avenue to a much-larger building left by Foodtown and Dunkin’ Donuts is constructing a state-of-the-art store next to Five Guys to replace its Foodtown Plaza location.
The construction will save many Wall residents the trip to Ocean Township for Target or Neptune for Shoprite and boost the local economy. With it will come job opportunities for township residents and students who lost them during the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic downturn. Target and Shoprite will upgrade the existing spots into so-called “mega stores,” meaning they will have more products than many other stores around.
“I think it's a good idea, so I don't have to drive out to [Ocean] all the time,” said Wall High School senior Hellen Schlosky. “And Target always has some clothes that I like to buy."
Target signed a lease in Wall toward the end of the summer. Attempts to reach out to the Target Corporation went unanswered, but the store is believed to open in 2021.
The new Shoprite will have a number of Wall residents applying for jobs there, like Wall sophomore Dylan Itri, who already works at the Shoprite store on Route 34 in Manasquan.
“Well, I really just needed to make some money so I thought the best place to go would be the one that can't be closed because of COVID-19,” he said.
There are some, however, who are concerned about a potential rise in traffic in an already-busy part of town. As it is, Route 35 in Wall is known to have traffic back up. Will these stores create more traffic?
According to 94.3 The Point, "It is exciting to have Wall turn into such an exciting shopping location, but it is seriously dangerous to get across the highway at spots."
All in all, the opening of these two mega stores should have a great impact on Wall's economy and help out unemployed people as the pandemic ends.