The Suburbanization of Philly: 5 More Stores We Want Now That Target Is Taking Over

When it comes to retail in the city, do we actually want to be, well, just like the suburbs?


The slow suburbanization of Philly. | Images via Shutterstock, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Wiki Commons.

The reaction to Target’s downtown expansion — a TargetExpress concept is coming to Center City next year; another location is opening in Midtown Village — was swift and overwhelmingly positive. And why wouldn’t it be? As I’ve said before, Target is the one of the last gleaming bastions of shopping efficiency that suburbanites cling to: Sure, you have better restaurants, but we have Target. There was, of course, the expected grumbling about the city’s descent into chain-dom, but I’d argue that even the most staunch naysayers would have to admit: Getting a Target is really pretty awesome.

But it also got me thinking: If one of the reasons we move to the suburbs is convenience — garages, big yards, grocery stores with decent-sized parking lots — what happens when Philly gets suburbanized? And, more importantly, is that what we secretly want?

Apparently, maybe just a little bit. I asked around for people’s dream retail wish list, and the answers point to something devoted city-dwellers might not want to admit: We want to bring the ‘burbs – or at least the shopping perks of the ‘burbs — to Philly. It makes sense: While Philly’s independent boutiques are part of the weird, wild fabric of our city, places like Target are, well, easy. And practicality — resounding, reliable practicality — counts for something.  So, here, in no particular order, are the five stores we’d like to see come to Philly next. The not-sexy, no-frills shops that might not win us any retail awards but would make our lives a hell of a lot easier: 

1. Wegmans
The holy grail of grocery stores. The sushi, the beer, the produce, the trail mix bar, the grab-and-go section, the kitchen wares …

2. Bed Bath & Beyond
Sometimes you want to be able to get a bathroom scale, set of towels, silverware organizer, drying rack, iron, air mattress, power strip and revolving spice rack all in one spot. And they accept expired coupons. All of them.

3. DSW
We need something — preferably a well-organized, well-lit, well-stocked megastore — to cover the chasm between Boyds and Payless.

4. Crate & Barrel
Because the glory of C&B should not be contained to King of Prussia and Cherry Hill. As one Rittenhouse resident says: “You can buy a tomato-peeler or a bureau for your bedroom!” Truth.

5. Nike
Ubiq is fantastic for quirky kicks, City Sports is great for running gear, Modell’s is fine, but an all-purpose Nike store (not an outlet) would be a welcome go-to spot for apparel and workout wear.

See any we missed? Leave it in the comments.