Mike O’Connor is anxious to see “his girl” after the makeover.
But his patience will be tested because it’s going to be a few more months.
“We can’t wait to see,” he says.
“She” in this case in the former Zellers store at Discovery Harbour Mall, currently being transformed into Target. And the target date for the grand opening is sometime in May.
“I do know the date, I just can’t say yet,” says O’Connor, the store manager.
O’Connor watches as PCL contractors are busy everywhere, inside and out, as they makeover the drab concrete facade and transform the 91,000-square feet interior to give it that hip, chic retail look. However, he can’t go inside until the makeover is complete.
“It’s different than WalMart,” says O’Connor, who should know because he was a WalMart manager. “It’s a unique approach to retail and guest services. It will be cool for the community to experience.”
The store makeover will cost $10-$11 million and Target is spending that much at 126 stores across Canada which are set to open this spring.
“That’s extreme renovation,” O’Connor says.
In January 2012, the U.S.-based retailer spent $1.8 billion to buy out 220 Zellers leases across the country. Some operations were closed, but Campbell River made the cut, much to O’Connor’s delight. Target gave him, and his family – he has a wife and two children, ages 3 and 4 – the opportunity to return to a community they loved. O’Connor lived in Campbell River from 1996-2006 and worked at Staples when it opened at Discovery Harbour Mall.
“We have family here, friends, I played sports here…we’re just excited to be back in town and I love what Campbell River has to offer,” he says.
And O’Connor is sure Campbell River will like what Target has to offer. The company is described as an “an upscale discount retailer that provides high-quality, on-trend merchandise.”
One example, says O’Connor, is the limited time only collaboration with Roots and its Outfitter collection of apparel that will be in stores this spring.
Target will also have a Starbucks, the second location for the coffee house at Discovery Harbour Mall. But now it’s time to get back to work and the gazillion little jobs it takes to open a big retail store. However, on Wednesday morning, O’Connor and his management team volunteered to do odd jobs for the residents at the Adult Care Society in Willow Point.
“It’s something we plan on doing quite a bit of in town,” he says.