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Target hosts 300 VIPs

by Linda Hiller

Three hundred very important people were invited to the soon-to-open Target store’s VIP Night Monday. From all accounts, the event really hit the mark.

It might have been the free dinner catered by the Sierra Nevada Golf Ranch, or the 10 percent discount offered to everyone who chose to be among the first shoppers in the fully-stocked store. The brightly-dressed Target team members in their traditional red and khaki outfits didn’t dampen the atmosphere.

The invited guests included employees’ families, Gov. Kenny Guinn, state and county officials, Target Store officials and grant recipients.

Rajeev Krishnan, regional district team leader, said he has opened three Target stores in the 10 years he’s been with the company.

“We always do this,” he said. “It’s a nice community event that brings everyone together and makes them see they can be proud of what they are doing here. It’s always very special.”

Guinn and first lady Dema Guinn, said they look forward to shopping at the Carson Valley Target, which is close to their Carson City home in the governor’s mansion.

“We have a Target close to our home in Las Vegas, and I like to shop there,” Dema said while shopping. “My grandchildren just love Target – this and Toys R Us, but I think Target is really their first choice.”

The Guinns will be facing their first-ever Carson City Halloween in the governor’s mansion, and Dema was, among other things, checking out the Halloween decoration department for the mansion’s lawn and doing some pricing in the candy department.

“We’re excited, and we’ve heard from a lot of kids saying they don’t want us to give out popcorn again this year,” Dema said, while looking around the 122,000-square-foot store. “And, when I asked them what they wanted instead, the consensus seemed to be Starburst candies, so we’re looking into that.”

Guinn mingled with other VIPs throughout the evening and said he enjoys getting out to see new faces at events like the Target VIP Night.

“I haven’t been to anything like this in Las Vegas, and we have Target stores there,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of new people tonight, which is always nice.”

Guinn said that he, too, is looking forward to hosting Trick-or-Treat night at the governor’s mansion for the first time.

“Our home in Las Vegas had lots of trick-or-treaters,” he said. “We had around 1,500 last year, so this won’t be totally new to us, but we’re told it will be pretty lively in Carson City. Dema says Starburst, but I think we should have some Butterfingers, too.”

Right about that time, Dema Guinn approached the check stand with a grocery cart full of assorted candy. Much of the candy given out at the governor’s mansion is donated, she said.

Happy campers. Over in the sporting goods department, Douglas County Community Development Director Bob Nunes was perusing the camping gear department.

“This is great – top of the world,” he said. “It’s so nice to see a local store where you can get just about anything close by.”

In the toy department, Target employee D’Ann Wahpepah and her 13-year-old daughter Sabra Helle laughed as they listened to a Rock ‘n’ Roll Elmo doll.

“This is a great store, and we’re all Elmo fans, including my two younger children at home,” D’Ann said. “We’ll probably get this Elmo for one of them.”

“I even have an Elmo backpack,” Sabra said.

Thank-yous said. Store manager Troy Blackwell, thanked the many county and state people who worked to make the store a reality, the vendors and key store team leaders for “putting in long hours in getting the store put together.”

Calling this month “Red October,” Blackwell explained that this was the first time the Minnesota-based company had opened so many new stores – a total of 35.

Assistant manager Lindley Baker then presented Target grant checks to five area organizations who previously applied for the community grants through Target’s company-wide 5 percent donation policy.

Among the recipients:

– $2,000 to Jacks Valley Elementary School for a visiting artist mural project.

– $2,000 to the Brewery Arts Center Stage Kids for a multi-cultural outreach touring show.

– $1,750 to Carson City’s Advocates to End Domestic Violence.

– $1,750 to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

– $250 to Covering Kids, which offers families without health insurance an affordable option. Because Covering Kids will be handing out insurance applications Halloween night at the governor’s mansion, the check was presented to Dema Guinn.

Following the grant presentations totaling $7,750, 12 of the BAC stage kids, clad in green satin jackets, performed two high energy songs to delighted VIPs.

Door prizes were given in a random drawing and one Target employee won a small football helmet autographed by John Elway. A surprised Reuben Vasquez, 7, a 2nd grader at C.C. Meneley Elementary School, won a basketball autographed by Bill Walton and John Wooden.

Hungry champions. Standing in line for the buffet-style dinner, jovial Douglas County officials competed with each other to come up with words that would best describe what the presence of a Target store means to the county, not only for the much-needed tax revenues it will bring, but also in terms of shopping convenience. The store officially opens Oct. 10 at 8 a.m.

“This is great – it’s beautiful! It’s unfortunate about that address, though,” said County Manager Dan Holler referring to the fact that Target’s address is 910 Jacks Valley Road, Carson City (mail at the north end of the Valley is delivered through Carson City by contract).

“It’s wonderful to see this – it’s just the start of Douglas County’s expansion into retail sales,” said Commissioner Bernie Curtis. “And, we should have that new post office on Mica Drive soon, so they’ll have a whole new address and zip code anyway.”

“We should tell Target not to print up too many business cards with the Carson City address on them,” said Commissioner Don Miner.

“This store is a tastefully done, well-merchandised retail center, and you can tell that a tremendous amount of thought went into it,” said Tom Baker, rural area director for Sen. Richard Bryan and former long-time manager of Albertson’s grocery store in Carson City. “I think it’s a great asset to the community – both Douglas County and Carson City – it gives people one more reason to stay here and shop.”

“It’s so big, and people have told me they feel the look of the building is upscale,” Holler said. “And, the tax money collected tonight will go to the county.”

“We expected the best, we planned for the best and this has exceeded our expectations,” Miner said.

In the end, it was Commissioner Kelly Kite who found the word to describe what everyone had been trying to say all night.

“Ka-ching!”