Hello Harlem! was the welcome message seen by thousands of shoppers at the grand opening of the Target East Harlem location. Early last Sunday morning Harlem community leaders and New York City notables, including Sharon Joseph and Gail Richards (Harlem Lanes), Thelma Golden (Studio Museum) in officially opening the new Target location in Harlem with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony.
After the ceremony I took a special tour around the store to see why the East Harlem Target is special and different. One special feature is the shuttle bus service. They pickup and drop off from Target to the public train stations at 116 street and 125 street. Inside, the store format is unique since its a single-level store layout. The store is connected to a pedestrian bridge that’s accessible by mass transit. A parking deck is also available.
Target has partnered with Harlem artist to offer an exclusive collection. Isabel and Ruben Toledo, renowned designer Stephen Burrows, as well as chef extraordinaire, Marcus Samuelsson have created limited-time only collections that reflect and honor the spirit of Harlem. Target will donate 5 percent of each product’s purchase price to a non-profit of the designer’s choice. The collections will be available in the East Harlem store from July 25, followed by select stores and on Target.com on August 1.
The store’s other main highlight is it’s commitment to the neighborhood to provide culturally relevant items. Also, section signs in the store are in English and Spanish. The posters and display show a multi racial community. There’s a large selection of multicultural items including Spanish language and Ebony greeting cards, Gospel and Latin music, Spanish language books and movies and a large assortment of multicultural dolls.
After my “official” tour I decided to tour “unofficially” to check out the things that make shopping as a parent more convenient. As with other Targets there’s a large food court that includes a Starbucks coffee section. The bathroom were clean and easy to find. There was a third bathroom the doubled as a handicap / “family” bathroom. Inside there was a changing station. Awesome!
For the residents and families in Harlem having Target open this store means so much. Over 400 local jobs have been created for Harlem residents. Yes this stores opening is a community convenience but more important the opening gives this community a future. Hello Harlem indeed!