Not since Prada arrived in Paris has there been a civic retail event as momentous as Target’s just-announced plan to open a store in Santa Barbara.
The company’s reveal on Wednesday that they plan to locate what amounts to a Target mini-mart in the Galleria on upper State Street not only represents a rare bit of positive retail economic news for the city in the Age of Amazon, but also the personal fulfillment of a decade-long dream for serious local shoppers.
Chief among them: Indy columnist Starshine Roshell, who holds perhaps more post-graduate degrees in retail performance than anyone in town.
“Target occupies the center of the Venn diagram where low-cost overlaps with high-quality, design-y merch” she said in a telephone interview, bursting with excitement. “Until now, we’ve had to make pilgrimages to Ventura in our giant mini-vans to get big name designers for low prices.”
Twelve years ago, when we both worked for the morning paper, Starshine in her column led a petition campaign to bring Target to Santa Barbara, which started as a goof but quickly drew 4,000 signatures – including then-Mayor Marty Blum.
Star explained the psychological pull of Target this way:
“The thing I love is, you can impulse buy and throw stuff in your cart, then get home and not feel horrible,” she said. “I don’t need another throw pillow with a goat on it, but I allow myself to feel good about buying a throw pillow with a goat on it - an impulse buy won’t break the bank.”
So there's that.
You can read all the details of Wednesday’s electrifying announcement in this story by Jean Yamamura, who was scooped by Noozhawk by five minutes; Josh Molina's yarn is packed with detail of the long political saga that finally brought Target to S.B.
Don't miss the part where outgoing Mayor Helene Schneider nearly sprains her arm patting herself on the back.
Images: Award-winning columnist Starshine Roshell; Bullseye the Bull Terrier, official mascot of Target.