This weekend, one of the most highly-anticipated events in recent memory will be taking place in Manhattan. Yes, that's right: Target is finally coming to Manhattan. Those of us city-dwellers who have had to go to Brooklyn or (gasp!) the suburbs to shop at the megastore can now experience the fun of discount shopping much closer to home. The buzz has been building for over a year, ever since the sign off the FDR drive went up proclaiming: Target— Coming in July 2010.
The store's opening event earlier this week drew such celebrities (and New Yorkers) as Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld, Russell Simmons, and reality star Bethenny Frankel. But the event was really targeted to the East Harlem community, which, despite an effort to gentrify in recent years, still primarily comprises a vibrant Latino population. So, what has been most interesting about this store's opening is how much Target has taken the community's population into account, despite the fact that some of its customers will likely also come from surrounding communities, such as the tonier Upper East and Upper West Sides.
In addition to exclusively featuring a limited-edition collection from designers and local residents such as Isabel and Ruben Toledo, the store is also giving back to the community financially. Five percent of the revenue from each product from that and other specific collections will be donated to local charities such as Museo del Barrio and The Young Women's Leadership School.
Connecting with a community is important, especially when a behemoth brand like Target comes to an area that is more accustomed to mom and pop stores. By taking the steps to reach the local residents with specialized products and a charity effort, Target is doing right by its customer base and its brand equity.