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by Jayme Fleming, staff writer

On March 8, one of the mainland’s trendiest retail stores, Target, is set to host grand openings of stores in Kapolei and Salt Lake. It’s the beginning of a job opportunity for students but they need to be acting now.
For more than a year, Target representatives have partnered with the public relations and advertising programs in HPU’s College of Communication. According to strategic communication instructor, Penny Pence Smith, Target has shared with HPU students cutting-edge strategies in what they believe works well for promotion and advertising of their organization.
Think just of the branding: mention the word “target” 30 years ago, and most people would envision an area, a surface, an object, or the idea of “hitting the mark.” Today, Target has become synonymous with flashy, vibrant commercials; distinctive and classy merchandise; and a red-and-white bulls-eye that draws the idea right into itself and visually reinforces the brand.
Smith is pleased with how well Target has opened themselves up to ideas from HPU graduate students. “It’s inspiring for students to have Target representatives trust their input when deciding how best to market their stores in Hawai‘i,” Smith said. She added that this is not surprising but just good business. Target is not the first bix-box mainland retailer in Hawai‘i, but it could be the best. What better way to be the best than to learn from those who live, work, and shop on the island of O‘ahu?
Even though Target originated on the mainland, the stores in Hawai‘i will have a local feel, according to Gina Pohlabel, a Target representative. Stock will include surfboards, boogie boards, and leis. Fast food items will include local favorites such as spam musubi and malasadas, and the grocery section will stock popular Asian dishes and ingredients. Further, all Target-Hawai‘i team members will wear red aloha shirts designed especially for Target by local designer Tori Richards.
According to Pohlabel, Target is counting on more than just the local merchandise and the food to make Target-Hawai‘i thrive. Employees will also aide in keeping Target a positive presence in the community. In preparation for the openings, Target recently completed training 20 Executive Team Leaders (ELTs). According to Yvette Gibson, an HPU alum and human resource ELT supervising hourly staff, ELTs must be good problem solvers, excellent communicators, dependable, and team-oriented.
“ Target focuses heavily on training and development.” Gibson explained, “and on being the best at servicing the public.” She added that half of the stores’ executives are locals, and while the other half are existing executives from the mainland, they will be transferred to mainland stores as soon as they can by replaced with fresh local faces.
If interested in applying, visit www.target.com.


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