Target, a Minneapolis-based discount department store chain, is planning to open a store in Westminster.
A spokeswoman for Target Stores refused to confirm the chain's plans, but the Westminster Planning Commission has scheduled a staff briefing tonight on a plan labeled "proposed Target store" by the consulting engineers who submitted it for city review.
The store is planned on part of a 100-acre site along Route 140 near Gorsuch Road. Westminster Nurseries Inc. owns the land and, the Church of the Open Door, an independent church, has a contract to buy the parcel.
The church has said it wants to build a college on part of the property. Target's plans to build a store would require it to buy part of the parcel from the church. The proposed store would be on the west side of Malcolm Drive Extended, opposite Weis Market.
Target's Westminster store is designed to be 117,000 square feet. A major competitor, Wal-Mart, has a Westminster store that is 116,857 square feet. Target's other rivals are chains such as Kmart and Caldor, which have stores in Westminster.
How the competition will end, "really depends entirely on whether the market is growing or not or how fast it's growing," said Charles W. McMillion, president of MBG Information Services, a Washington-based business analysis and forecasting service.
"As long as the pie's growing, everyone can be all right," Mr. McMillion said. "If the pie is not growing or not growing very rapidly, entry could be a bad move for Target or one of the others could get squeezed."
Carroll County is "definitely an area we're interested in," said Target spokeswoman Susan Eich. She said the chain looks for large sites with parking and traffic flow.
The company also seeks communities with the right demographics. Customers of the Target chain, which the company calls "guests," have a median age of 39 and median household income of $43,000. Sixty percent have children living at home; 75 percent have attended or completed college.
Carroll Countians' median household income in the year between July 1, 1993, and June 30, 1994, was $47,900, according to information compiled by the county.
Westminster City Planning Director Thomas B. Beyard said tonight's briefing is a first step in the review process for Target.
The Planning Commission will meet at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall. The commission's agenda also includes a site plan for Carroll County Commerce Center, two industrially zoned lots on Route 97 near Krider's Church Road.