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Shoppers take aim at Target

March 12, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With 11,000 people through Target's doors in the first six hours of its grand opening Sunday, store team leader Greg Wicklem's enthusiasm remained fueled by the shoppers' positive feedback and partly by a grande coffee from the in-store Starbucks.

The parking lot was full and nearly every shopping cart was in use.

Yet, customers politely exchanged pleasantries in the aisles and didn't wait more than two deep at a cash register.

"Grand opening Sunday is typically a big, big day for Target stores," Wicklem said.

The store had a soft opening Tuesday and was already reporting impressive electronics and apparel sales.

"Laura's been here twice already," said Sharon Gregorio, of Chambersburg, who was shopping for clothing with her daughter. The pair frequently shopped at Target when they lived in California.

"It looks like they have a lot of stuff, which is refreshing if you've been in our mall," Sharon Gregorio said.

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Several customers, including Pam Lynch, shared an appreciation for having an alternative to Wal-Mart.

"I had been waiting for it to open to check it out," said Lynch, of McConnellsburg, Pa.

"We needed it really," said Robert Beam, of Chambersburg. "We needed some competition with Wal-Mart."

The cart he was sharing with his wife, Lois, was nearly filled and contained several grocery items, although the Beams' intent was to visit the store for compact discs.

"The freezer section is out of this world," Lois Beam said.

The grocery section in the Chambersburg store is expanded compared to the one in Hagerstown, according to Wicklem.

For Bob Stoner, of Mercersburg, Pa., the drive to Chambersburg was more convenient than to Hagerstown.

"Our grandson is having a birthday, and we found clothes for him," Stoner said while looking at fans with his wife, Sue.

Shopping in Chambersburg means the clothing isn't taxed like it would be in Hagerstown, Sue Stoner said.

"We always wanted them to open a Target in Pennsylvania. This is the first one that's close," Bob Stoner said.

The Stoners and Beams said the merchandise quality is better than other comparable retailers and praised the wide aisles.

At another store that also officially opened this weekend in Chambersburg Crossing, the acclaim came in the sound of yelps and barking. Grooming appointments were being quickly filled at PetSmart, and fish were selling well.

The 22,162-square-foot store had a soft opening earlier in the week and had been visited by dogs, leashed cats, ferrets and two pygmy goats, store officials reported.

Circuit City opened earlier this year in the Norland Avenue shopping center, and Staples is set to open its doors soon. Other stores and restaurants in the development include Kohl's, Giant, Red Robin, T.G.I. Friday's and Michael's.

For now, though, the Target store itself is "mighty big," Phyllis Valentine said while shopping with her friend Janet Uglow.

"I think it's something the area needed," said Uglow, of Shippensburg, Pa.

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