Target was obviously hoping the whole neighborhood would be talking about its new outpost on East 14th Street. Following a grand opening celebration on Saturday, people were definitely talking, but it probably wasn’t exactly what Target’s marketing whizzes had in mind.
There was a big backlash over a replica of the storefront from the legendary rock club CBGB (the awning read TRGT with CBGB in smaller letters). Now Target has responded publicly, releasing a statement to the New York Times:
We often host a one-day celebration that shows the neighborhood how excited we are to be part of their community… We sincerely apologize if some eventgoers felt it was not the best way to capture the spirit of the neighborhood… We always appreciate guest feedback and will take it into consideration as we plan for future opening events.
Many locals and musicians who were part of the defunct music venue were outraged, saying the PR stunt demonstrated a lack of respect for and understanding of the neighborhood’s culture and history.
Target is scheduled to open another store on the Lower East Side Aug. 19 as part of the Essex Crossing project. There may very well be a big celebration, but it’s a safe bet Target will stay away from any marketing ploys that might further ruffle local feathers.