By Eric W. Schoen
When friends come to visit me in Yonkers, their first question usually is, ‘Where is the Yonkers Target?’ My answer embarrassingly has always been, ‘Yonkers doesn’t have a Target.’ Their reaction is usually shock and bewilderment.
Well friends, that’s all about to change. Thirty, yes thirty years after my first visit to Target in California, ‘a Target Grows in Yonkers.’ The old Wanamaker’s and until late last year Sears store at Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers will become the newest store in the Target chain.
The business side of why Target has decided to set up shop in the iconic Cross County Shopping Center, the first shopping center in the United States goes back to an old retail philosophy that still holds true today: Location, Location, Location! The mall is at the confluence of the New York State Thruway, Cross County Parkway, Bronx River Parkway, Sprain Parkway and close to the Saw Mill River Parkway.
Every day thousands if not tens of thousands of cars pass the mall, their owners heading north, south, East, and west. Most major bus lines in Westchester pass through or are easily connected to the mall. Parking is plentiful and no new roadways have to be completed to gain access to the mall. Who could ask for anything more!
I saw the lights on in the old Wanamaker/Sears building just last week, with workmen coming in and out of the store. I sensed something was going on. I passed by quickly but I think I saw an Asbestos Removal Notice. Asbestos was used as major insulator in buildings built through the early 1980’s. It has since been found to be a cancer causing agent.
So what is a Target? Many of you have heard of it but have never actually been in one. Target is like the old store chain Caldor’s many of you remember but on steroids. A high quality, trendy discount store with many individual departments in it. When you walk into the store, there is usually a Target Cafe and/or a Starbucks Cafe. Seating where you can relax before, during or after shopping.
The menus feature Starbucks drinks, pastries and snacks and Pizza Hut pizza with breadsticks and pasta. Hot dogs, chicken tenders, popcorn, fountain soda and slushy type drinks round out the menu. You won’t find the 4 or 5 vegetable platter my mom use to love at Wanamaker’s when the store had a restaurant on the top floor that you got to via elevator only, but plenty to eat!
One area of the store is always changing for the season. Right now it’s chock full of things for Halloween, everything from candy to costumes to those gigantic blowups you have on your lawn. Christmas and Chanukah will hit next, of course with a touch of items for your Thanksgiving table. Valentine’s Day, Easter and Passover along with every holiday will be featured in this area.
Seasonal also includes garden and barbecue items from chaise lounges to charcoal and paper goods to hold your hamburgers and clean up afterwords.
Target has clothing for all members of the family. Quite often for females they invite designers that feature clothing out of most people’s price range to develop a lower cost, limited edition line so that the average person can get a taste of luxury for a lot less than they would pay at the designers studio.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the Target discounting procedures. Most items when they enter the store at full price are good value. Some discounting starts at 10% but is usually starts at 30%. The next discount is at the 50% level, and items remain there for a while till they hit 70% off. 90% off, yes things like Christmas and Chanukah items, Halloween goodies and goblins, Easter candy and Passover items all hit this price level when they want to move the merchandise out and are getting ready for the next season. When things hit 90% you better get there quick because unless the item is something quite unusual stuff flys off the shelves and into shopping carts.
The grocery selection at Target is quite good with even an item like WONDERBREAD discounted from its regular price. Now you are not going to find every brand and size like you would find in a supermarket. Some items come in bulk back, but it’s not overwhelming like the warehouse chains where you have to buy 10 pounds of bananas.
Target grocery tries to be trendy. The store is known for exclusive food items that manufacturers make just for them or give to Target before regular grocery stores get them such as unique OREO cookie flavors and potato chip flavor exclusives. They will have the latest frozen food items, extensive cheese and international foods sections, and everything from turkeys for Thanksgiving to Hams for Easter. All at the aforementioned discount prices.
The latest movies, cds, video games and books will be on display. Sometimes the music will have an extra song or two exclusively for Target. When the hot new music is released it will usually be discounted from normal retail as well the minute it hits store shelves.
Domestic items are on trend and again, top designers are brought in to design exclusives for Target. Bath, Bed, chachkes or unusual items for anywhere in the house, kitchen and dining are items are featured. Basically you can ‘wardrobe your home’ at Target. And a large Storage section features those big plastic bins to put everything away.
Target loves Pets and pet food as well as all the toys you need to keep your cats and dogs occupied are for sale. Target also loves children. Beautiful clothes to dress up or play in the sunshine are on display. The Target Toy department is hot this time of year, featuring all the items kids want to play with. This year for example they have a partnership with FAO Schwarz that will bring products from this iconic retailer into your home.
Electronics, stationary household essentials, luggage, arts and crafts, sports and outdoors, health and beauty I could go on for days of all the departments you will find at Target. Baked goods and fresh vegetables and fruits are abundant.