WILLMAR - The parking lot at the Target in Willmar is filling up, but not necessarily with cars. Nearly a quarter of the lot is full with big, metal shipping containers as the store prepares for a facelift.

Willmar's store is one of nine in Minnesota undergoing a remodel this year, as part of the company's goal to upgrade more than 1,000 stores by 2020.

"Across the country, we'll be choosing elements to create customized concepts to meet the needs of local guests," said Liz Hancock, from Target's communications office, in an email to the Tribune.

The city of Willmar issued the building permit for the project in May. Target is estimating the project will cost approximately $950,000 and will be completed this fall. The store will remain open during the project, though customers might come across areas that have been emptied of merchandise or curtained off as things in the store move around.

The contractor for the remodel is Engelsma Construction of Golden Valley.

"The reimagined stores will feature modern design elements and bring more technology and digital experiences to our stores to make shopping in store and online even easier and more inspiring for our guests," Hancock said.

The enhancements at the Willmar store will include modern decor and fixtures, updated order pickup and guest service counter, and a nursing space for new moms. There will also be an upgrade to how the store's merchandise is displayed.

There will be "dynamic, engaging merchandise displays throughout the store to provide guests with inspiration and style and help them visualize how to pair products together," Hancock said.

Target started remodeling its stores in 2017, finishing 110 that first year and completing over 300 stores last year, including more than two dozen in Minnesota. The company is planning on investing billions into the business over the next few years.

The first Target store opened in Roseville in 1962. The company was founded by the Dayton family, which first started a retail business in 1902 called Dayton Dry Goods Company in Minneapolis, which eventually turned into the Dayton's Department Store. The first Target store outside of Minnesota was opened in the Denver area in 1966. Today, the company operates around 1,800 stores nationwide.