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Target: Opening Day review

Cashier Marie hands me my first purchase at Target — a box of cookies and a bag of liquorice for the office. It cost $5.07, which was seven cents more than I had in cash and I had to use debit.

GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Cashier Marie hands me my first purchase at Target — a box of cookies and a bag of liquorice for the office. It cost $5.07, which was seven cents more than I had in cash and I had to use debit.

Will Target make a difference in the Brandon retail scene? Judging from the opening hours on Tuesday morning, the answer is yes.

Target had a soft-opening of its doors in Brandon on Tuesday, May 6, 2013, although friends and family of employees had an invite-only chance to get inside the night before.

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Target had a soft-opening of its doors in Brandon on Tuesday, May 6, 2013, although friends and family of employees had an invite-only chance to get inside the night before. (GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN)

It looked like more than 100 people were lined up ready to get inside at 8 a.m., but Target staff helped the lines flow smoothly.

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It looked like more than 100 people were lined up ready to get inside at 8 a.m., but Target staff helped the lines flow smoothly. (GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN)

Wide, clean aisles with plenty of light make shopping in Target a pleasant experience.

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Wide, clean aisles with plenty of light make shopping in Target a pleasant experience. (GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN)

Patio furniture had a big display in the new Target.

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Patio furniture had a big display in the new Target. (GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN)

The grocery section of Target was smaller than I had expected.

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The grocery section of Target was smaller than I had expected. (GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN)

Target is still waiting on the odd bit of stock, but by and large the shelves are full to bursting.

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Target is still waiting on the odd bit of stock, but by and large the shelves are full to bursting. (GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN)

A lineup halfway down the building was waiting to get in when the doors opened precisely at 8 a.m. Staff — including security guards — efficiently herded them inside within minutes.

One of the first shoppers I ran into, a friend and former neighbour, confessed that she was supposed to be working, but had gone in early so that she didn't feel too bad about checking out the new Target.

"It looks just like the American ones," she told me, happily looking over stylish women's clothing just inside the door.

To my eye, the new Target is big, bright and airy. It does look a lot like the American Targets I've been in — although, given the location and the red colour scheme, it also looks a fair bit like Zellers 2.0.

About that red, it was interesting to stand in the parking lot and see Target branding give way to the same shade of red all along the outside of the Shoppers Mall. Five Guys looks like a Target subsidiary, but there's also Scotiabank, Smitty's and Safeway all the way down. Clearly, there's been some research somewhere that deems red a good logo in the retail world.

The parking lot was about halfway full this morning, and there were work crews in it still cutting concrete. And, of course, it still needs to have lines re-painted.

But that was about the only part of Target that didn't look, feel and smell new.

My first impression through the doors, after the the very nice smile and "Good morning, welcome" I received, was a new-car smell from the carpets and floors.

This was not a quick paint job on the old building, this looks like a top-to-bottom new store inside.

A few shelves were still bare, with signs saying, "We're in the process of stocking up so you can too" but they were few and far between. Mostly, the merchandise was stacked all the way to back of the shelves. I've heard that Target is anticipating sales numbers akin to Boxing Day during their Manitoba opening.

That may have a few other local retailers worried.

I saw at least a couple of middle aged men with notebooks, scribbling prices. Since I didn't think this morning before donning a red tie, I think at least one of them believed I was a Target manager, and I was briefly amused by his efforts to conceal the notebook.

The tables were turned a few minutes later, when I was approached by a Target staffer and told, politely, "No pictures."

Despite that prohibition, I did manage to get a few snaps from inside, and it's not like you'll have any trouble seeing it for yourself.

The aisles are wide, the lights are bright, and the merchandise offerings are stylish and appear fairly priced. The food section was smaller than I expected it to be — there's frozen stuff and some dairy, but no produce or deli section — but lots of the stuff drew my eyes. The electronics section and the patio furniture look like they may have a direct line to my brain's "want" centre.

Those two sections are in the back corner, near the inside entrance to the Shoppers Mall, where there are a few self-checkouts. That entrance was closed at first, but was opened later in the morning.

After grabbing a box of cookies and a bag of liquorice to take back to the office, I went through the till where a smiling Marie said I was the first one through that checkout.

By the exit is a Starbucks, which should make some people in that end of town pretty happy. There's also a licensed pharmacy inside.

The Brandon store is one of 22 that opened in Canada today. An average of $10 million was spent to renovate each one.

I wouldn't be surprised if they make that back in just a few months.

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Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 4 Commentscomment icon

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avatar

Hi 24074282 —

Just to explain the spelling choice, for general style, the Brandon Sun tends to follow the Canadian Press Style Book. However, there is no entry for licorice vs. liquorice. In those cases, the official dictionary of the Brandon Sun is a battered copy of the Concise Oxford.

I quote:

Licorice — see "Liquorice"

Liquorice — black substance used in medicine and as sweetmeat made from root of leguminous plant Glycyrrhiza glabra.

Which is a definition boring enough to remove nearly all enjoyment from eating it.

It is licorice not liquorice

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Hi Janny — Yes, it's in the old Woolco/Walmart/Zellers location.

The story forgot to mention the store location, for those of us no longer in Brandon. From the hints, I would guess that it's where the old Woolco store was, at the Brandon Shoppers' Mall on 18th Street and Richmond?

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