promotions all over the place, and had a flashback.
It was 1981 or 1982 and the economy was in the tank. A Cousins
Subs shop was opening at that strip mall at Sunset Drive and East
Avenue. (The one with Little Caesar’s and Gordy’s barber shop.)
I was a teenager - a very poor teenager who had foolishly quit a
job at Boy Blue on Hartwell. (The Boy Blue is now a gyros place. If
you’re a true Waukeshan, you know what every current business
"used to" be, and you bring that information into your
present-day descriptions. For example: "I’m going to get a
gyro at that place that used to be Boy Blue.")
Anyway, where was I ... Oh yeah, I needed a job and a Cousins was
opening, and it was so long ago I had never even eaten at a Cousins.
The restaurant was being built, so all Cousins job-seekers had to
apply at the Holiday Inn. I went there and people were lined up out
the door. I didn’t get a job, or even an interview. When I later
went to Cousins (apparently I found money to eat there) the workers
were all "old people."
This was one of my first economic lessons: When the economy is in
the tank, is opening in July,
and the place is hiring as many as 200 new employees.
This led Target to hold a "job fair," which is a fancy
way of saying they took applications.
Jen Becker will be the manager of the new store on Sunset Drive.
This is her third store opening, and she’s reopened a few
remodeled versions, too.
Becker is no stranger to sorting through hundreds of
The previous store openings were as long as five years ago. So I
asked what these applicants were
like compared to a few years back.
"A lot of folks are looking for full-time," she said.
Many applications are handled online. That means it’s harder to
get a handle on the number of applications - and it’s harder for a
guy like me to walk in and see a line snaking around the place.
But Becker said it’s "more than we would average"
during a booming economy, obviously, and more qualified workers have
applied. Many applicants were "making a lot more money"
somewhere else before applying at Target, Becker said.
So, to the surprise of no one, it’s 1981 again. Alas.
Becker had some interesting things to say about the new Target.
Please, letme share them with you:
* The store will feature groceries. My wife has always been
pushing this, saying, "If they just sold milk." Now, they
will sell milk and a lot more.
The Target will be next to a new Pick ‘n Save, which will be
down the road from the existing Pick ‘n Save. Go the other way on
the road and you’ll hit a Sentry, so you might have a hard time
driving through the area without encountering groceries.
But Target has a strategy. "We’ll be on the one-stop
shop," Becker said.
It will offer more than just milk. "I buy 75 percent of my
groceries from Target," Becker said. If you need some weird
groceries, you might be out of luck. But if you "need milk and
dinner for the next five nights, you’re set," she said.
* The new store will also feature a photo lab, a Pizza Hut, a
Starbucks and a pharmacy.
* The new store is a prototype that has been tested,
successfully, in other places. It will be the first in the greater
Milwaukee metro area.
* The store will continue to have ties with Carroll beyond the
job fair. Carroll caterers will handle some opening events. In
addition, the store will offer shuttles from Carroll to Target on
days students move into dorms.
* This new Target is a big enough deal that the company’s
annual meeting was held there Thursday. The meeting typically is
held at a new store, and the Waukesha location was chosen because of
its new look and features. It also didn’t hurt that Target CEO
Gregg Steinhafel is from the area, and a Carroll College graduate.
(Longtime Waukesha resident Pete Kennedy is a
former Freeman editor. His column runs Saturdays in The Freeman.
Reach him at email@example.com)