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Thousands turn out to help open new Target

March 06, 2000|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Soap opera star Forbes March, former Baltimore Oriole Boog Powell, three birds of prey and "Barbie" helped promote the opening of Hagerstown's newest retail department store Sunday.

Target opened a 104,000-square-foot building Wednesday in the unfinished Crosspoint shopping center behind Valley Mall.

"The turnout's been phenomenal," said Todd Lockwood, one of the store's assistant managers. He said 700 people were waiting in line when the doors opened and hundreds of tote bags were given away in the first 15 minutes.

Another manager estimated 10,000 customers came and the store processed about 5,000 sales before 4 p.m. Sunday.

Lockwood said Target contributed a total of $5,500 in checks to three community organizations: Washington County Arts Council, United Way and Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA).

Some were surprised to find celebrities at the store and others came to see them. Theresa Stottlemyer of Hagerstown waited in line with several women and girls to see March, who plays Scott Chandler on the television show, "All My Children."

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March signed pictures in front of the fitting rooms. Stottlemyer said she has watched his show for many years and was nervous about meeting him. "He plays his role really well," she said.

Jennifer Rozansky, 14, of Greencastle, Pa., clutched her autographed picture and smiled broadly. "He's really cute," she said of March. "He's a really good actor, too. He's a very down-to-earth guy."

Taylor Jones, 3, was thrilled about meeting Barbie, a woman in a pink dress signing pictures of the doll. "I think I'm going to take a picture of her," said Taylor, holding up a camera.

Patrick Steiner said he was surprised to see three birds of prey in the store, but two of his three children watched them intently. Vincent, 9 months old, sat in the cart while Emily, 8, and Niklas, 3, stared at the birds.

University of Michigan Raptor Center representatives brought a golden eagle, a peregrine falcon and a barred owl to the store. The birds perched on artificial-turf-topped stumps wearing restraining leather straps.

Educators from the center gave a brief presentation in front of the "infants and toddlers" section of the store. They spoke about the birds' characteristics and behavior.

County officials waived a requirement in January that would have postponed Target's opening. A county ordinance had required the shopping center's owner, Hekbel Limited Liability Corp., to finish road work before the store could stock its shelves.

When the work is completed, Massey Boulevard will be extended to Virginia Avenue. Bulldozers and construction work were evident Sunday as shoppers streamed past the incomplete section of road and a fenced-off parking lot.

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