Target, in Davis. A controversial place in this town. It has only been open for about six months, but a few years ago it required a very narrow win in a city-wide vote for building to be approved. Target played hard-sell, appealing to the underwear buying public, college students and suburban moms alike, as well as sugaring the pill for Davis’s famed environmentalists by building the greenest Target building ever built (or something), but they faced some fierce opposition – Davis, with it’s anti-big-box tendencies, is not a town to mess about with. Downtown independent businesses banded together and fought the proposal, fearing (justifiably, given the story in so many other American towns) that the arrival of large big-box stores on the edge of town would destroy this small city’s downtown, and with it, its character. There were arguments, oh boy there were arguments, bitter bloody spit-in-the-street-and-call-you-elitists arguments. The underwear argument for one. The fact that there was already a new Target opening up the road in Woodland so another one was unnecessary. The whole creating new jobs thing (with the counter-argument that if it forced other stores out of business it would take away jobs too, and then the town is dependent on its big box store for employment, and if said store goes the way of Woolworths…) And then it was back to the underwear argument again (just where can you buy socks in Davis?).
But in the end, Target prevailed; with their national wealth behind them they had been able to spend sixteen times what the downtown stores had been able to muster up. And so here in 2010, here it is, green Target. And despite my love of and support for independent stores, I do go there when I have to, because it’s there. But personally, I don’t buy socks. I wait for Christmas.