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New Target store opens Tuesday in Orillia

DAVE DAWSON, Special to QMI Agency


Orillia Square mall is on target for big things.

Target, the American retail juggernaut that has invaded Canada, will have a soft opening of its Orillia store on Tuesday, reinvigorating the city’s only major mall.

“We are very excited to be opening at Orillia Square mall,” said Tamar Nersesian, who handles public relations for Target Canada.

“Reaction to the three pilot stores (opened earlier this month west of Toronto) has been overwhelming,” she added. “People have been streaming through the doors.”

Undoubtedly, shoppers will be streaming through Target’s Orillia doors when they are open. The massive store has been vacant since Zellers closed last year. In the meantime, Target has been working to remodel the space.

“I think what people will notice first of all is that we have bright, clean stores with very wide aisles,” Nersesian said. “There is lots of space and it’s sort of like a racetrack with red lines down the sides, clear signage.”

While the layout and merchandise will turn heads, Nersesian said it’s customer service that helps set Target apart from its competitors.

Nersesian said each Target store employs between 150 and 200 people.

“We are really committed to living out our slogan: ‘Expect more. Pay less’."

One of the things Target customers can expect is Roots merchandise. The new Canadian retailer has developed a unique partnership with Roots.

“We have collaborated with Roots to offer Roots merchandise at all our stores as part of a limited-time engagement,” said Nersesian, noting men’s, women’s and children’s Roots merchandise will be available.

But, as per Target’s policy, the joint venture won’t last long. Roots merchandise will be available at Target stores until June.

However, year-round, the retailer offers a wide array of department-store merchandise — everything from groceries to hardware. The Orillia store will also have a Starbucks.

“We have Starbucks baristas there now training the new staff,” Nersesian said.

While Target is expected to be a big draw, it’s just one component of a massive overhaul at the Orillia mall.

Over the past several months, Orillia Square has had a significant makeover, its first since 1989.

Included in the outdoor part of the renovation were new exterior-entrance canopies and signs, a new front parking lot, sidewalks and updated exterior-wall treatments. Inside were more comprehensive upgrades, including new ceilings, modern flooring, refreshed walls, energy-efficient lighting, new, soft and contemporary furniture in addition to enlarged, accessible washrooms.

“Obviously, the mall (needed) a makeover,” said Matilde Bite, the mall’s marketing co-ordinator.

“We (were) looking a little tired and dated. It definitely (needed) to be spruced up."

She said the new design is “brighter and refreshed.”

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