As we prepare for the last gasp from our favorite local store, dear Target, please hear us out. How did we get so complacent and miss the signs that you were losing interest?
When you first opened your doors, we already admired your sister store, T4, over the hill in Duluth, and we made periodic visits. When you opened our hometown Superior, Wis., store, we grew to love and depend on you.
We got our first Redcards and looked forward to those special 10 percent shopping days we earned. We had an exclusive relationship; we loved what you provided our community, and in turn, supported you in your endeavors here.
We appreciated your efforts to provide good service, an exceptionally clean environment, the friendly, helpful employees and good-quality products at fair prices. We loved the way you marketed your brands and kept current while still maintaining your all-American, Midwestern values.
We continued to favor you even when other big-box stores moved in and tried to undercut you and take away your business. You were still our favorite, through economic downturns, credit card compromises and marketing missteps. We knew we could always count on you to make things right if things went wrong.
We looked forward to your weekly fliers, new Cartwheel offers, and standing in line for Christmas specials on Black Friday. We loved running into friends in your aisles, combing the end caps for great clearance items, stopping for popcorn and treats in Food Avenue. We appreciated your perfect size and location, where we could pop in for emergency school supplies, pick up a prescription, meet a friend for coffee or help an elderly relative who needed to do some shopping.
Now we’re left wondering what happened. Did we let you down in some way? Have you lost focus on what made you a great company in the first place? Are you having a midlife crisis? We really want to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you did your due diligence and made your decision for all the right reasons, but we can’t help wonder, as you sit in your executive offices and your cubicles and meet at your conference room tables surrounded by your data and financial advisers, if you aren’t missing what is truly special and important about this small-town niche of your Target business.
Sometimes people and communities don’t need new marketing strategies and fancy remodels. They need a clean, friendly, dependable, convenient, well-run business. T889 exemplified all those things.
We just want a chance to make sure you truly understand what you are letting go — and what we are losing. This store is a model of everything Target stands for and everything Target does right. Its employees are a model of how to embrace and live your corporate mission statement. The store is located in an area that the community has worked hard to revive and grow. New businesses continue to move in, but Target is still the heart and soul of the area and is helping to draw more and more people from rural areas of northwest Wisconsin and neighboring communities, who appreciate the convenience of its location and the unique variety of retail businesses, restaurants and services that the Tower Avenue corridor offers.
There is no other retail business that can match the whole package that Target can offer. You made us love you, and maybe we were complacent in our good fortune. We would love to continue to support you through your changes and growing pains, but it will be hard to do if you pull up stakes and disappear from our lives.
So now we’re left to tuck away our Redcards for safekeeping. We’re not quite ready to head to your sister store over the hill. The Cartwheel apps can be deleted from our phones and computers. We will thank all those dedicated employees who helped make T889 so special and pray that they and their families weather this devastating development. And we will make one last, painful visit to T889, brace ourselves to face the empty shelves, soaking in the special ambience of this special store that served us so well for so many years.
Dear Target, you did it so right here. How could you think it was wrong?
Lori A. Flynn lives in Superior, Wis.