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City Target rolls out red carpet for DTLA opening

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at 10:06AM

The entryway to the Downtown store is marked with this large "Hi Downtown" sign.



Downtown's new 73,000-square-foot City Target opens to the public Wednesday morning and the new location kicked off their opening with a sneak peek of the store Tuesday night. The 250 new employees along with their friends and family, the media and city officials were invited to check out the 7th and Figueroa location in an event that could only be described as "all-out."

There was a DJ set up playing Top 40 hits, free food booths including tacos from Más Malo, champagne, churros, photo ops and Bullseye the mascot Target dog -- even the USC marching band came through at the end, playing their instruments and marching by aisles of shoes and party goods.

This City Target is a new arm of the retail chain and focuses on items for urban-dwellers. The DTLA location includes clothing for women, men and children, a large grocery section, a pharmacy, shoes, home goods, school and party supplies and more.

Simone Tatro, the store manager, said that the standard version of the retail chain typically opens in suburbia where they can "sprawl out" in 100,000 to 120,000-square-feet of space. For their City Target in Downtown, they've streamlined their options to fit their location, editing the assortment to cater to city living.

"Instead of a large patio set you'd have in a big backyard, we have little bistro sets that could fit on a balcony," said Tatro.

This is the second City Target to open in the L.A. area. The first debuted in Westwood earlier this summer and one is planned to open at the Beverly Connection in March.

"The L.A. market just seems to be the best market to have this small urban footprint," said Tatro.

Target employee Andy King opened the Westwood store, and said that while it's about the same size as the DTLA location many of the items differ because the Westside store is aimed at students, while Downtown's is focused on residents and professionals. The Figueroa location has a bigger assortment of food items while UCLA's is heavy on dorm and school supplies.

Downtown's Target has tried to highlight and appeal to its location with a "Hi Downtown" sign near the entryway and an entire section dubbed "City Love" which includes Los Angeles t-shirts, tote bags, stationery and other city-centric paraphernalia.

DTLA's Target has more than 70,000-square-feet of shopping space and additional floors for stockrooms and loading docks. The store manager expects it to be busiest in the mornings before work, during lunch and after business hours, when people have time to do some shopping and avoid the traffic crush.

Tatro said Target held a mass hire for employees and received more than 9,000 applicants -- choosing 250 for the new DTLA store. She said most people they hired live in the Downtown area or "surrounding zip codes," and were chosen for their "positive energy," not necessarily the most experience.

Councilmembers José Huizar and Jan Perry, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck and other city officials were on hand to publicly welcome the retail store to the area with accolades and city plaques.

Villaraigosa attributed a large part of Target's attraction to DTLA to the area's dramatic decrease in crime -- which he thanked Beck for.

"This city is safer than anytime since 1952," he said.

The new Target is now open and its hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. This Sunday, October 14, the store will hold another grand opening ceremony that will be similar to the one held on Tuesday.

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