Shoppers in northwest Fresno are about to have a lot more options as The Marketplace at El Paseo shopping center opens.
A few stores in the first phase of the center on Herndon Avenue near Highway 99 are scheduled to be open this weekend — Target, Tilly's and Maurices — with the rest opening throughout March, early April and this summer.
For now, it's mostly chains. An additional six buildings will be built over the summer and the developer is currently seeking local tenants. A Robertito's Taco Shop with a drive-thru is the only confirmed local business so far.
When finished, the first phase will have more than 40 stores on 45 acres.
Most of the chains opening this month are already familiar to shoppers. Here's what you need to know.
For the most part, this new Target store looks like any other — but there are a few differences.
It's the first Target in Fresno to have an optical department. It employs an optometrist and has a large selection of glasses for sale.
It also has a new concept, Baby 360. Every Target store has a baby department, but this one has specialists that can help moms and others figure out exactly what they need, whether it's in the store or online, says store team leader Curt Cappello.
And the signage and shelving may look a little different than Target shoppers are used to. That's because it's a test store for those items.
The store also has a full grocery store, a pharmacy, a Starbucks and a Pizza Hut Express.
The men and women's clothing and shoe store with a surf, skate and motocross influence is also scheduled to open today. It's bigger than the Tilly's stores at River Park and Fashion Fair. It carries a collection of brands, including Vans, Ray-Ban, Billabong and Hurley.
The Famous Footwear will open March 19. This is actually a relocation of the store at Shaw and Brawley avenues, which will close.
This small chain of San Francisco-based coffee drive-thru franchises will open a location in El Paseo this winter. Java Detour sells coffee, espresso, tea and frozen drinks. It has locations through Northern California and one in Bakersfield, but this is the first for the Fresno area.
This will be the first Maurices clothing store in Fresno, though one opened in Clovis last spring, and Tulare and Kings counties have several locations. The retailer is owned by the same company that owns Dressbarn.
This store has a younger, more trendy vibe and sells women's clothing such as jeans, dresses and accessories, sizes 1 to 24.
Also opening soon in the shopping center:
Anna's Linens: March 13
Petco: March 16
Burlington Coat Factory: March 28
Marshalls: March 20
Old Navy: opening soon
Ulta: opening soon
Also in the center, a McDonald's is under construction along Herndon Avenue. Ross and a Sleep Number store will also open in the center.