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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Target Grand Opening - Riverdale, NJ

Today -- Wednesday, October 10, 2007 -- represents a momentous day in this part of Northern New Jersey: Target has come to town, opening today.

Actually, today is the soft opening. The Grand Opening takes place Sunday, October 14, 2007. Sadly, I won't be in town.

It's been very interesting trying to track the progress of the store to determine when the big day would be. Tidbits [like these photos from July] have been few and far between. Surprisingly so when you think how large an organization Target is, and how major a presence the store represents in this neck of the woods.

It's even more surprising when relevant news immediately pops up [e.g., Wal-Mart opened its doors] for very similar search terms [e.g., "walmart riverdale nj" vs. "target riverdale nj"].

My friends - Andi, Dina, Jill, Karen, Lisa and Regina - and I formed an email distribution list to track news of the Target opening. We resorted to old-fashioned means, not that we learned much. A call to Minneapolis in early September gave us the October 10 date [thank you, Lisa!]; local calls went to a wrong number; another store said the opening was October 14th.

The rest we gleaned by voraciously absorbing every detail as we drove by the construction site to and from work, home and errands:

+ training center notices appeared,
+ landscaping going in
+ the red Target sign appeared
+ construction on the exit ramps started
+ and ended

We have looked closely for banners or posters or signs announcing the upcoming opening. Nothing! What a disappointment, especially when Lowe's and Bed, Bath & Beyond effectively used banner signs on the main drag announcing when to expect their grand openings.

Dropping off my daughter this morning, Jill relayed her most recent observation: she saw cars entering the
parking deck. I told her that today, armed with my camera, I intended to check the scene out and get the cold hard facts...

So, I went. And I parked. And I entered.

It was delicious!

I went immediately to the customer service desk to ask questions and request permission to take photos - not allowed in-store. However, I met the manager [Angie?], got her approval to take a picture of the new shopping basket that you see here:

Did you notice that it is not rectangularly shaped? The curve on each side makes for very comfortable walking around the store basket in hand. It doesn't bang into your legs, knees or hips. Notice, too, the handle: much more ergonomic than traditional baskets.

The manager mentioned that the basket was so innovative that it had been featured on Oprah [I tried searching google and Oprah for mentions, without success].

Regardless, I like the basket and I used it.

I mentioned to the manager how much trouble we [and I have to assume countless other avid Target shoppers] had getting hard information about the store and its opening. She expressed surprise. Seems that a local paper might have done an article, but as you can see from the search above, it certainly isn't showing up online.

She confirmed that the Grand Opening takes place Sunday, and that flyers would go out on Saturday announcing the big event [hmmm, wouldn't you like a bit more notice?].

Interestingly, my friends Jill and Dina received Target coupons in the mail three weeks ago. I didn't. We live within the same zipcode. Jill has graciously offered to split the $5 coupon with me, but why hasn't everyone received one? Bed, Bath & Beyond does a great job distributing coupons by mail.

While at Target, I searched for an elusive yet delicious clipboard [pictured here] by Isaac Mizrahi that I found at a Target in Texas. No such luck [clipboards are my newest and most effective organizational tool], although I did find a more generic one. I can't have too many clipboards.

This Target will feature our first local Starbucks. Sadly, it wasn't yet open for business today.

I expect that it will be ready for my next visit, though. That will be a treat.

By the way, the store has no hours listed...

So, there you have it: an exciting event in this part of Northern New Jersey. I hope Steve Woodruff gets word [this post should help :)].

Retailers, as you consider how potential customers learn about you and your store, don't forget to pay attention to your presence online. Make sure that someone can find you when they search [especially in google]. Make sure that news about you gets out, not just in traditional press, but also in digital publications.

My advice to Target: improve your online presence and consider asking Wal-Mart for advice!

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