The official grand opening of the first Target to open on the island of Manhattan isn’t until Sunday, but big name stars and local celebrities couldn’t wait to come see what the mega-chain had to offer on a balmy Tuesday night. Target hosted a red carpet affair unlike any Harlem has seen since its former glory days of being ‘the’ destination for top entertainers. The event brought out singers, actors, and designers including designer Tracy Reese, and actor Jerry Seinfeld.
The Harlem location has been designed specifically with the needs of the community in mind. Limited edition and exclusive designs are a key piece to making the Harlem store unique. Designers Stephen Burrows, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson designed colorful lines of clothes that are available only in the Harlem store until August 1st. A limited number of Target stores with similar demographics will also offer the items after August 1st and they will be available at Target.com for all others. In the spirit of giving back to the community, Target will donate 5% of the proceeds to select local charities.
Other celebrity lines carried by Target include Sylvia’s Soul Food, Paula Deen cookware, Shaun White footwear, Queen Latifah Collection of Cover Girl cosmetics, and Jessica Seinfeld’s Baby Buggy collection of baby clothes. The store features an expanded selection of ethic products including hair care products, and Spanish language books and CDs.
John Griffith, Executive Vice President of Property Development at Target says that the Harlem store is “the largest single investment of any store in the company.” Griffith anticipates that the investment will be well worth it in profits due to expected high volume sales that could make the Manhattan location one of the highest grossing stores. A number of New York locations already exceed well over 100 million dollars.
The store also contributes to the community by creating over 400 new jobs. About half of those went to local residents. While Target reps wouldn’t discuss starting salaries, Griffith said that it is competitive with the surrounding businesses, insuring that they land the creme of the crop.
Will there be another Target coming to Manhattan soon? According to Griffith, not for another 3-5 years. The Harlem location was 13 years in the making. Now that the Harlem store is open Target will be turning their attention to the opening of their next New York store in Flushing, Queens.
Target is located at 517 East 117th Street off the FDR. By public transportation take the M116th and get off at First Avenue and 116th Street. Walk two blocks east to the East River Plaza. The store is on the second level of the shopping center.