A Shop-A-Holic View Of TargetBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Saturday, March 04, 2006
Target's "soft opening" of its' new Berkshire Mall-based store afforded me two opportunities.
|A Berkshire Mall-based Target store is open for business.|
Option One: make a bunch of telephone calls seeking information about square-footage, lighting strategies, the number of full and part-time workers staffing the store, and bright and cheery quotes about how delighted all the company hot-shots are to be part of the Berkshires retail community.
Option Two: go shopping.
Let's just say that no Target officials were pestered by me this week.
But after visiting the store, the opening of which has been much anticipated and bally-hooed by every female friend and relative I have, I decided to share my personal thoughts and opinions about this latest Berkshires shopping option.
Two words: Welcome, Target.
A Store With Cribs!
The first area that brought a smile to my face and put a song in my heart was a well-stocked baby/toddler section that not only offers cribs and other baby furniture but has the items in stock and displays some pieces assembled and on the sales floor. There appeared to be a large selection of baby furniture and necessary infant items such as carriages, strollers, car seats, etc., all neatly arranged and displayed along wide, clean aisles under nice lighting. I investigated prices on several pieces of merchandise and found that the items are affordable to most people who live and work in the Berkshire region.
The store's selection of lamps, clocks - both bedside and wall- cookware, dishware, glassware, silverware, and other for-the-home wares was generous, and many color combinations were presented. The bedroom and bedding supply area was also quite extensive, as was the bathroom area. The store offered a nice selection of curtains as well, with the exception of kitchen curtains, which on March 3 were almost non-existent.
Hardware, such as curtain rods, tiebacks, and "slides," was easy to find, and there were several options available.
The clothing sections were great in my estimation, and I was especially pleased with the children's departments. In the girls' department, there was a super selection of clothing from fancy dresses to sporty, casual styles, and a moderate selection of dance wear, such as leotards.
In the boys section, there were choices, something that is missing from other area chain-type retail stores.
The grocery section was extensive; there is a frozen/refrigerated foods aisle, and the department is situated close to cleaning and pet supply arenas.
The aisles that offer items such as greeting cards and gift bags, make-up and hair care products, and other "life as we know it" supplies are well-stocked with choices. A Pizza Hut is located within the store. The store hosts a pharmacy.
Target's One Chance For a First Impression
Overall, the store made an excellent first impression in the areas of selection, cleanliness, lighting, customer service, and prices.
The shop-a-holic in me was almost giddy with joy. I purchased a lovely cream-colored "dress-up" frock for my seven-year-old not-of-my-blood -but-all-of-my-heart granddaughter [and wonderful big sister] Kaitlynn for $22.99, and two sleeveless t-style tops [$12.99 each] and two sleeveless, sparkly sweater-type tops [$14.99 each] for myself.
Just how customer-friendly the store's return policy proves to be will be determined when customers actually try to return items, and if this company is among those that cuts the value of purchased-and-paid gift cards as time passes without the card being used, then the store will never sell a gift card to me.
And I would be remiss if I did not note that the clothing I purchased at Target was labeled as being made in Turkey, China, and the Philippines. The only item that I purchased at Target that day that boasted a "Made in USA" label was a bottle of Sally Hansen nail polish.
But since I live in a nation that routinely makes it easier for companies to ship jobs out of the country, that does not employ American companies to secure some of its ports, and apparently supports a wealth and privilege system of delivering health care services, it seems almost pointless to criticize Target for selling foreign-made garments.
Like it or not, the company is selling what most of us can afford to buy.
No Place Like Home
As much as I enjoyed perusing Target's aisles, the store will not be a frequent shopping destination for me. I once documented the mileage from my home in Pownal, Vt. to the Berkshire Mall and the round-trip is just over 40 miles, too far and too gas-rich for my time and my wallet. I will continue to shop at the stores in downtown Adams, North Adams, Williamstown, and Bennington, Vt. that I have come to enjoy and trust.
I believe that most Berkshire region shoppers are pleased with the presence of a Target store. I believe that, unless store selection, quality, or customer service decline significantly, or costs to the company escalate unexpectedly or without reason, the store will be a successful Berkshire venture.
I do not believe that Target's opening will force the closing of any downtown shops -unless a closing was already likely and imminent.
I enjoyed shopping at Target, but local shops such as "Mysterious Wonders" in Adams, "Where'd You That?!" in Williamstown,"Persnickety," "Crafty Creations," and "Moulton's General Store" in North Adams and "Panache" in Bennington, Vt. will remain my first-stop shopping options.
For my money, there's no place like home.
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires or at 802-823-9367. A Target "grand opening " is scheduled for March 5