1967 vintage Gemco (now Target) to close Jan 6

Uh...California.

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runchadrun
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1967 vintage Gemco (now Target) to close Jan 6

Post by runchadrun » 23 Dec 2006 15:07

The Target at the corner of Balboa and San Fernando Mission in Granada Hills is closing on January 6. It will be torn down and rebuilt and is supposed to reopen in October.

The store opened in October 1967 as a Gemco. The LA Times described it as "an air-conditioned, all-electric building on a 10-acre site" and as being 105,000 sqft. A display ad for the grand opening had a coupon for one cent off a gallon of gas, good on either 100 octane ethyl or 92 octane regular. I always thought that Gemco membership was open to anyone who wanted to pay a dollar, but the membership application in the ad restricted it to "home or property owner; reserve or active armed forces; city, state, county, federal employee; defense, aerospace, or utility co. employee, non-profit or co-op organization; union member or veteran." The store was open Tuesday through Sunday but closed on Monday, though the pharmacy and service station were open 7 days. That might explain why there was always an external door to the Gemco pharmacies.

The property was owned by the Beneficial Standard Life Insurance Company and was leased to Lucky Stores for 25 years (that would be until 1992.)

Target took over in the 80s when Gemco closed but the store still has the Gemco look to the exterior. Most of the Targets acquired from FedMart or Gemco have been remodeled and this is one of the few that still looks like a Gemco. This store will have similar fate as the North Hills store, also a former Gemco, at the corner of Balboa and Nordhoff which closed in January and was rebuilt in time for the holiday shopping season a couple of years ago. I thought that this might happen because the independent auto repair shop in the parking lot was torn down a couple months ago. I've always thought that Gemco's pattern of positioning the store in the parking lot was a poor use of space, where there's a lot of parking on the side (originally they had a gas station and auto service there.) The Northridge store was similar and they built it so that there is parking is on the ground level underneath the store.

http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2& ... ne=2986337

I'll try to get some external pictures before they close.

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Re: 1967 vintage Gemco (now Target) to close Jan 6

Post by tkaye » 23 Dec 2006 17:23

runchadrun wrote:I always thought that Gemco membership was open to anyone who wanted to pay a dollar, but the membership application in the ad restricted it to "home or property owner; reserve or active armed forces; city, state, county, federal employee; defense, aerospace, or utility co. employee, non-profit or co-op organization; union member or veteran."
Well, that is practically everyone without saying so... especially since many (if not most) adult men in 1967 were veterans. I don't have the facts to back it up, but I'd say that union jobs were more prevalent then too.

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Post by Jeff » 24 Dec 2006 20:02

Another former Gemco (now Target) still around is in Duarte. Still sports the blue tile (this was one of the last Gemco's built....I think Rowland Hts was the very last, like around 84).

This one had a corner entrance, as seen in some late gen stores (like RH).

Very long link

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RandallFlagg
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Victorville store

Post by RandallFlagg » 25 Dec 2006 20:29

They remodeled the Victorville store a year or so ago, but the outlying buildings still have the old orange tile with white stucco above them.

Floyd

Stockton Target

Post by Floyd » 28 Dec 2006 00:16

The Target in Stockton, CA had the vintage Gemco look to it from the time Target opened in 1987 until 1999, when they remodeled and expanded.

J-Man
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Target-Duarte

Post by J-Man » 01 Jan 2007 12:57

Did the Target in Duarte ever operate as a Gemco? My understanding was that it was built to be a Gemco, but that the buyout by Target took place before it ever opened. I moved to Duarte in 1987, and it was definitely a Target by then, but I don't know what happened before that.

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runchadrun
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Re: Target-Duarte

Post by runchadrun » 01 Jan 2007 15:06

J-Man wrote:Did the Target in Duarte ever operate as a Gemco? My understanding was that it was built to be a Gemco, but that the buyout by Target took place before it ever opened. I moved to Duarte in 1987, and it was definitely a Target by then, but I don't know what happened before that.
The Gemco Duarte opened on October 28, 1985 and it was one of the last (if not the last) Gemco built. It was the third new store to let you pay for all of your purchases at one unified checkstand instead of having to pay in each individual department. The Rowland Heights and Encinitas stores opened in early 1985 and were the prototypes for the unified checkstand and they planned on expanding it to all stores with 24 to be completed in 1986. (I don't know how many stores got remodeled since Gemco shut down in 1986.) The Times reports that the Dublin, Mission Viejo, and Fullerton stores were remodeled around the same time the Duarte store opened and I know from experience that the San Gabriel store was remodeled shortly before it shut down.

The Times also reported that Gemco planned on opening 2 new Socal stores in 1986 but that the company declined to identify the locations. In looking at other stories, developers had plans to build stores in Baldwin Park (Sierra Vista project along I-10) and Thousand Oaks (SW corner of Thousand Oaks Blvd and Conejo School Rd).

The Duarte store was one of the few Gemcos I saw with the yellow and blue sign on top of the blue tile. The only other one I remember was the one in Culver City at the 405/90 interchange that's now seems to be the world's largest Albertsons and still sports the blue tile.

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Post by surfingdude » 01 Jan 2007 15:48

The Durate store (Gemco #821/Lucky #676) was the last Gemco built or opened in October, 1985. It was closed following the announcement October 9, 1986 that all Gemco's would be closed.

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Post by reymann » 01 Jan 2007 17:08

The Target on First & Shields in Fresno was a Gemco at one time.

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Post by Jeff » 01 Jan 2007 23:44

Rowland Heights had the Blue and Gold Gemco logo on it.

They had replaced everything in the Gemco San Gabriel and had a unifed checkstand. I beleive it was remodeled near the end of the chain.

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Post by J-Mac » 05 Jan 2007 05:21

Thanks for the heads up! I was able to swing by (well, a 45 minute drive) and the only chance I had to catch this store before closing was this evening.

But I did get some interesting night shots.

Image

Downsized for the message board, a higher-res version is at http://home.earthlink.net/~it345/sitebu ... 0344-1.jpg

I notice that many Gemco stores had a large awning covering the entry/exit area, almost like a covered porch, with higher windows... this store reminded me of the Gemco Cerritos location in this manner (prior to Cerritos being "refronted.")
http://home.earthlink.net/~it345/sitebu ... 0353-1.jpg
and
http://home.earthlink.net/~it345/sitebu ... 0361-1.jpg
and
http://home.earthlink.net/~it345/sitebu ... 0363-1.jpg

This store's sign also screams Gemco, even though it is covered with the Target brand, the shape and style is definitely Gemco. Note that it is a red-neon sign underneath, not like later-day flourescent tube signs.
http://home.earthlink.net/~it345/sitebu ... 0348-1.jpg
and
http://home.earthlink.net/~it345/sitebu ... 0365-1.jpg

Speaking of which, this sign looks somewhat out of proportion, and Gemco was known for having ultra-tall signage... was this sign shortened?

The inside of the store was vintage Target neon-everywhere with color-coded departments keyed to the pathfinder signage... not unlike many other stores. I didn't get interior shots... it just didn't seem unique enough to warrant the hassle.

My feelings... well... I'm sad to see another piece of Gemco history bite the dust. I was a Gemco kid, my toys came from there up until the 1986 closing, which I recall... and in fact the closing of this store reminds me of the closeout we shopped back when Gemco had theirs. I don't remember a lot about the chain since I was 10 years old when they closed.

However, the fact that the vast majority of Gemco locations have been successful as Target stores points to the fact that Gemco picked excellent real estate to develop. The other thought that struck me was as I drove past the "other" Target on Balboa... the newly built Target stores are getting further away from the basic Bullseye-on-Box design, and that is a good thing. The store-over-lot is a better use of land and allows for a larger store with ample parking... although the Cerritos "re-front" moved the entry to the corner of the building, which is also saddled with an L-shaped parking lot, and that changed the whole parking dynamic for the better.

The new designs push them further away from Walmart... a strategic move.

Perhaps there is more to this than we know. Was the Northridge store also a tilt-up design? The stores I've seen re-fronted have been block buildings.

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Post by Groceteria » 05 Jan 2007 10:52

J-Mac wrote:However, the fact that the vast majority of Gemco locations have been successful as Target stores points to the fact that Gemco picked excellent real estate to develop. The other thought that struck me was as I drove past the "other" Target on Balboa... the newly built Target stores are getting further away from the basic Bullseye-on-Box design, and that is a good thing.
Agreed and agreed.

I was thinking the same thing about locations and how a significant number of Bay Area Gemco locations were still thriving as Target almost twenty years later, which is an eternity in "big box years".

And some of the new Target locations are quite stunning. I think they're doing far and away the best designs in their class right now.

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Post by runchadrun » 05 Jan 2007 11:18

The Northridge Gemco opened in 1980. If you look at the local.live.com view you'll see the old store in the east and south views, though you can't see much.
http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2& ... ne=3120862

The rebuilt store is very nice, with street-level parking and the store above it. I was surprised to find a Starbucks inside that store. These are renderings of the store:
http://www.mbharch.com/portfolio/retail ... rgetnr.htm

I'll get some daytime shots of the GH store this afternoon.

A few things about the GH store from the zoning change approved by the city council: The new store will be 148,344 sq ft with a maximum height of 45 feet with 635 parking spaces.

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Post by TheStranger » 05 Jan 2007 15:58

I've been to two former Gemcos, the first one being in Colma that is now a Target Greatland (and remodeled beyond recognition in the mid-90s, after it had been a plain Target for a while), and this one in Sacramento at Broadway and Riverside on the site of the former minor league ballpark in town.


Image
larger: http://dtcwrt.earlracing.com/stores/1214/dcfc0098.jpg
sign: http://dtcwrt.earlracing.com/stores/1214/dcfc0099.jpg

I actually went in there last night (looking for some athletic equipment and a carton of Tropicana) and the place had the most quiet, empty feel of any Target I've been to. Granted, it was 8:30 PM on a Thursday, and I have been to that location when it was much, much busier.
Chris Sampang

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runchadrun
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Post by runchadrun » 05 Jan 2007 20:39

Here are pictures from the Granada Hills store, taken about 20 minutes ago. J-Mac took some good pictures last night and these are just to supplement them. The wind damage to the garden center and overhead sign are relatively new. We have had very gusty winds over the last few weeks.

Upper-case Garden Center sign (newer stores are mixed case). Note the stylized concrete in the wall.
http://homepage.mac.com/runchadrun/groc ... G_5105.jpg

The corner of the store with the now-shuttered garden center. They are storing extra shelves in there.
http://homepage.mac.com/runchadrun/groc ... G_5106.jpg

Store entrance
http://homepage.mac.com/runchadrun/groc ... G_5110.jpg

Long shot of the entrance
http://homepage.mac.com/runchadrun/groc ... G_5113.jpg

View from across San Fernando Mission (sorry about the trees in the way)
http://homepage.mac.com/runchadrun/groc ... G_5114.jpg

Overhead sign. It's defintiely a former Gemco sign, one of the last of its kind. There are pine needles stuck in the bottom of the bullseye where the plastic was blown out. It either was blown there or it's the nest of a bird who doesn't mind the heat.
http://homepage.mac.com/runchadrun/groc ... G_5115.jpg

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