said Richard McLeod, store team leader, standing outside the store at 5 p.m. for a brief ceremony, which drew occasional applause and cheers from Target employees and spectators alike.
"Our team would like to extend you a warm welcome!" Target
, known for its community grants distribution program, offered four checks to four separate Jonesboro organizations during Tuesday's event.The company gave $2,000 to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) as part of Target's
Family Violence Prevention program; $3,000 to the Foundation of Arts
for its Arts program; $1,000 to CityYouth Ministries for its Community Leadership program; and $3,000 to the Valley View Elementary School's
2nd grade Reading Buddies program as part of the company's effort to support early childhood reading. McLeod
, a Pensacola, Fla., native who came from a Jackson, Tenn., Target
, also thanked a host of individuals and businesses who helped bring the company to Northeast Arkansas, including local caterers, hotels and banking firms.He
also thanked Carl Sweatman of MCDR, the Memphis contractor responsible for building the new store. Following a photo shoot with grant recipients, McLeod cut a red and white ribbon stretched across the pneumatic doors with Harold Perrin, vice mayor who stood in for Mayor Doug Formon, who was ill. Members of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce also participated in the ribbon cutting.
As the ribbon fell, McLeod
staff let Jonesboro's first Target shoppers inside.The crowd walked into the store under an arch of red and white balloons.
"Have fun shopping and welcome to your Target store!"McLeod
As shoppers took advantage of the catered food, the face-painting, and a unique sale: a 5-piece set of luggage for $10, McLeod
told reporters he
was excited to bring a large concern like Target to Northeast Arkansas and hopes residents enjoy the new facility.
"I'm just happy to be able to give the city of Jonesboro their own Target store," he
said."I wish I could've put a big red bow on it, but I guess a ribbon will do."
The 128,000-square-foot store includes a full-fledged Starbucks with its own seating area, a large grocery section and a pharmacy -- something a lot of Targets are getting these days, McLeod
received the keys to the building in early September.
Target's grand opening Sunday will begin at 8 a.m., but McLeod
said the store won't do anything in the way of special events -- just continue to let folks in for shopping.