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Target ready to open Oct. 10

by Linda Hiller

The wait is nearly over. After months of construction, the Target store at the north end of the county is starting to look like a real Target store, and everyone involved in the complicated process of making it happen says the Oct. 10 opening date will take place as scheduled.

“We’ll be opening right on target,” said store manager Troy Blackwell. “At the same time, we’ll have about 30 stores opening across the country. Target likes to open stores in cycles – usually in July, October and March.”

Target was founded in 1962 and is owned by Dayton Hudson Corp., in Minneapolis, Minn., which also owns Mervyn’s, Marshall Field’s, Dayton’s and Hudson’s. Blackwell said income from Target Stores amounts for around three-fourths of Dayton Hudson’s business volume.

– Newlywed manager. Blackwell, 28, whose official title is “store team leader,” has opened one California Target store prior to opening this Nevada site. It is the first time he’s opened a store as a newlywed, however – he was married less than a month ago and after a “too-brief” honeymoon in Italy, he’s up to his eyebrows in the never-ending details of opening a major retail chain store.

Blackwell, originally from Napa, Calif., graduated from Sacramento State in human resources and worked for Target in Sacramento for the last five years. His new bride Angie, a nurse, has already gained employment at Washoe Medical Center, and the couple currently lives in the Double Diamond area of Reno.

Touring the store with Blackwell is a cacaphonous endeavor, with constant phone calls being announced over the store’s public address system and questions from co-workers being thrown at him from all angles.

– New staff stocking furiously. On Tuesday, the shelf-stocking began, with red-shirted employees busy arranging things in their own section of the store according to Target-style guidelines. Amid the chaos, Blackwell says he feels things are going right into the bullseye up to this point.

“I am very pleased with the supervisory people we found with our mass hire this summer,” he said. “We hired around 120 people, and I’d say only 10 to 12 were transferred in from out of the area. The rest came from local people – Gardnerville, Minden and Carson City. We are still accepting applications, though, so people can always drop by and fill one out.”

The Carson Valley Target store is a little bigger and has some improvements over its predecessors, Blackwell said.

“It’s one of the new prototypes,” he said. “It has more square footage than other stores – this store is 124,000 square feet, which is 10,000 to 14,000 square-feet larger than others – and the new prototype also has a few other features that our older stores don’t have.”

The addition of a portrait studio is a new Target feature, Blackwell said, and there is also a one-hour photo facility for customers. An ATM and separate guest services room is also included in the new building.

“Of course, our motto at Target is ‘fast, fun and friendly,’ so that will remain the same,” he said. “Target is really good about listening to suggestions from employees about how to make the stores better. Especially in a new community, we want to be friendly and make people feel welcome and taken care of. Our focus is on guest services, and our wide aisles are one of our trademarks.”

There are 18 checkout registers at the Highway 395 Target, and the inside restaurant features quick food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and just snacking. The restaurant will be opening next week for employees who are hard at work stocking shelves and getting the store ready, Blackwell said.

The Carson Valley Target has a neon light tube encircling the interior of the store. In the clothing section, the neon light is yellow; for housewares, it’s blue, etc. Employees can direct customers to “follow that neon light to the green section” if, for example, they’re looking for packaged snacks.

– Giving to the community. Target stores nationwide – and by the time the Target opens, there will be 916 stores in 44 states – donate 5 percent of their federally taxable income to area charities.

“Locating a store in a community means much more to Target than constructing a building and selling merchandise,” said Gail Dorn, vice president of communications and community relations for Dayton Hudson Corp. and Target Stores.

Corporation-wide, Dayton Hudson Corp. and Target Stores will give more than $1 million per week to communities where they do business. Blackwell said the main focus in the selection of where the money goes is generally aimed at enriching family life -issues that affect children, as well as challenges such as domestic violence prevention.

– Starry, starry night. For residential neighbors who are concerned that the lights of the parking lot will shine all night long and fade the coveted night sky view at the previously-dark location, Blackwell said that after the store closes at 10 p.m., every other light will shut off, and after the store-closing employees have left the building, the remaining lights should shut off except for a few security lights.

“I don’t think (seeing the stars) will be a problem,” he said.

– Where and when. Target is located at Highway 395 and Jacks Valley Road. This site is a part of Douglas County’s first-ever redevelopment area. The county promised up to $3.5 million to help install utilities for stores in that area, improve the streets and make other changes necessary to support commercial development there. The tax revenues generated back to Douglas County from these “big box” stores – Target and the new Home Depot next door that has two walls up – is expected to help county coffers.

Store hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with the store closing only three days a year – Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. For more information, call 267-5151.