The long, slow, frustrating commute down Bobby Jones Expressway ended for many Columbia County Target customers as they welcomed the new Evans location with open wallets this past week.
Skylar Bernstein, 3, of Grovetown, looks at the toys at the new Target on Washington Road while shopping with her mother on October 5, 2005. The store will have their grand opening on Sunday, October 9.
The store, located at 4223 Washington Road, in the new Mullins Crossing shopping center, held a preview session Tuesday and a "soft" opening Wednesday, and will hold its grand opening today, said store team leader Anthony Childress.
The new Target store is a little more than four miles northwest of the other area location in the Augusta Exchange complex, but customers like Tammy Glaze from Martinez said the new location will save her the trouble of dealing with traffic congestion.
"(We've been) looking forward to it, absolutely," she said. Glaze said she came with her 3-year-old son Michael Jr., who asked his mother to take him to the new store.
In addition to the standard Target store inventory of clothing, housewares, electronics, cosmetics, sporting goods and toys, the new store also houses a pharmacy, a Pizza Hut Express and a Starbucks coffee shop.
"It's been a tremendous success so far," Childress said of the store's soft opening. "I see nothing but continued success."
This is the second store opening for Childress in the past year, he said, adding that he is originally from Greenville, S.C., and opened a Target store there last year.
New Target employees, such as Taketra Patterson, a cashier from Augusta, trained at the Augusta Exchange store for two days with their supervisors. She said she's excited by the grand opening.
"I'm loving it," she said. "I like to see the customers' faces, the guests' faces. They're excited we're here."
Chick-fil-A and Kohl's also held their grand openings Thursday. Despite heavy rains dropped by the remnants of Tropical Storm Tammy, about 130 people spent the night outside Chick-fil-A for the chance to receive a year's supply of combo meals, said restaurant manager Jason Adams.
The first 100 in line at 6 a.m. Thursday received the pack of 52 combo meal coupons, and an additional five packs were raffled off to the others who waited through the rain and wind.
"We've been chomping at the bit to open," Adams said. The new store is a prototype for the company. The building features a new kitchen and dining room design and a new earthtone color palette, he said.
The restaurant employs about 80 full- and part-time workers, Adams said.
Managers at the new Kohl's store next door, which quietly opened to the public a week ago and held its grand opening Thursday, declined to comment, citing company policy.
Store Manager Diana Ripkey cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the company's 21st store in Georgia - the chain's first in the Augusta area - just before 8 a.m. Thursday.
Minutes later, employees unlocked the doors to allow in a hoard of shoppers who had been huddling under umbrellas in the parking lot. The first 500 customers in the department store after its grand opening received a decorative shopping bag.
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