Eighteenth Avenue was blazing red as the strip’s new — and eagerly awaited — Target opened its doors.
The store, at 6401 18th Avenue, greeted local civic leaders and members of the press at a preview the evening before opening to the general public on Wednesday, October 18, at 7 a.m.
The 20,400-square-foot store — with a bright marquis reflecting the site’s origin as the Walker Theater and embellished inside by newly restored gilded friezes dating back to the building’s earliest days — is one of the chain’s small-format locations, but merchandise was selected to reflect the needs of area residents, said Senior Group Vice President for the New York Metro Market Tony Roman, himself a Bensonhurst resident whose father — who lives just a few blocks away — was among the crowd at the preview.
“We listened to the neighborhood,” Roman told this paper. “We spent time talking to the local people to find out what was important to them.”
The result is “a curated assortment” of merchandise “geared to what guests want,” Roman said. Besides standard products that can be found in Targets across the city and the country, the Bensonhurst store also carries Asian and Kosher groceries.
“This is a diverse community,” Roman stressed. “We want them to feel like it’s their Target store.”
Also reflecting the desires of the community is the careful restoration within of the friezes from the old Walker Theater by Industry City-based Evergreene Architectural Arts. The theater opened in 1926 and closed in 1988, and in the building’s prior incarnation, as a Mandee and Annie Sez, the architectural details were covered.
“The movie theater was special [to the community],” said Roman. “We heard that loud and clear.”
“Very simply put, this store is beautiful,” enthused Councilmember Mark Treyger, who attended the preview.
It also, he said, helps fill a need on a key shopping strip in the neighborhood. “The immediate reaction from Bensonhurst residents is, ‘Now, I don’t have to drive along the Belt Parkway to Exit 15’ [to get to a Target].
“It is a win-win on so many levels, for the residents and for the commercial corridor that is thriving in the Bensonhurst community.”
Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna concurred. Stressing the borough’s diversity, she said, “You can travel the world in Brooklyn and the shelves around you should reflect that. Target opening this store means that everyone is included.”
Reyna also praised the restoration of the historic details in the building as “respecting the history of Brooklyn,” and applauded another unique detail in the store — a community space that she said was developed, “Thanks to the input of the people of Bensonhurst. It means the community has been embraced. Kudos to Target. You got it right on target.”
The 18th Avenue Target will be open Sunday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. With a staff of approximately 80, the store is one of the first to offer a new service, same-day delivery, which premiered in June, 2017 in the chain’s Tribeca store.