Residents protest Target store opening in Ocean Beach

OCEAN BEACH, Calif. -- A small-format Target celebrated its grand opening Sunday in Ocean Beach on Newport Avenue.

“It’s small so it kind of blends in with the rest of what’s going on here. I like it," one shopper told FOX 5.

Others walking by felt the store was out of place in their beach town. "You won’t ever see me shopping there," Angel Franquez said.

The 18,000 square foot store employs 50 people, most of them from the San Diego area, said Tony Franco of Franco Realty Group, a broker who represented the landlords.

"This is a grand slam for the community," Franco said.

Kate Uhle, a restaurant owner across the street from Target, said she has seen an increase in foot traffic in the area since the store's soft opening on Tuesday. “Even if you’re against it, there’s a lot more people shopping and working here now that have to support local businesses on their lunch breaks," Uhle said.

Uhle also said the store's added lights and security cameras make her feel safe. “I think it’s a good addition to the block," Uhle said.

Others who have lived in Ocean Beach for many years are worried the chain will put an end to small businesses.

A group gathered in front of the store to protest Sunday morning. “I for one will boycott completely. There really isn’t a need for corporate conglomerate businesses in a small town," Franquez said. "Part of what makes OB funky and hip and crazy cool is the local business people."

“I actually support smaller businesses myself and like mom-and-pop shops. So I’m still going to support the small businesses around here," said Michael Modrow, owner of Humble Heart Thrift Store on Newport Avenue.

A Target spokesperson released the following statement to FOX 5:

"Target is excited to bring an easy and convenient shopping experience to Ocean Beach guests. We have worked extensively with local leaders and community groups to develop this store specifically for the Ocean Beach area, and are proud to offer a tailored experience to the neighborhood."

The Ocean Beach location is Target's third small-format store and 25th total store in the greater San Diego area, which altogether employ more than 4,150 team members, the company said.

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