Irma Crewse of Higley can’t wait for the SuperTarget to open Wednesday at Gilbert Gateway, the nearly completed 80-acre, open air shopping center at Power and Ray roads in Gilbert.
"I moved here two years ago, and there are no stores close," she said. "We have to go all the way to Warner (Road) and Val Vista (Drive) to shop. You hear comments from all the neighbors about SuperTarget coming and all the stores. We are all so happy."
About nine miles west of Gilbert Gateway Towne Center, at Crossroads Towne Center, which straddles the Gilbert Road border between Gilbert and Chandler, south of the planned southern leg of Loop 202, Arizona’s only other SuperTarget also is getting ready for a Wednesday debut.
The combo discount department storesupermarket will add another grocery shopping option for East Valley residents.
"It’s yet another example of how attractive this area is to national food retailers, the importance of this growing metropolis," said Rich Jennings, president of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance. "It’s like a magnet drawing retailers to the area. Everybody wants to be here."
With Gilbert netting both of the first two Arizona SuperTargets, it should be a significant boost to the town’s sales tax take — and leak a little tax from neighboring cities into Gilbert coffers, reversing past trends.
Angelina Brockett of Chandler, for example, is eagerly waiting for the Crossroads store to open.
"I am so excited that Super-Target is coming," Brockett said. "I was not pleased about the Wal-Mart Supercenter (nearby). We don’t need a Wal-Mart every two or three miles. I am a Target shopper. I am not a Wal-Mart shopper."
Like the Wal-Mart Supercenter, SuperTarget allocates one end of its massive, 155,000-square-foot structure for food shopping. It looks like a typical supermarket, including a wine section, which some East Valley Target stores also have added within the last year. Unlike the other Targets, SuperTarget also sells beer.
The deli section has the usual fare, plus such unusual offerings as sushi and Einstein bagels made fresh on the premises daily.
There’s a Starbucks coffee shop just inside the front door and a Pizza Hut Express.
There’s an aisle with dozens of upside-down jars of colorful Jelly Belly flavors that you can buy by the ounce.
Besides the regular shopping carts, there are some versions with infant seats, and others with a car-shaped structure featuring toddler seats.
Most impressive to anyone who has grocery shopped on a Saturday with kids in tow, is the long line of checkouts. There are 28 of them, said Maggie Mades, assistant store manager at the Gilbert Gateway store. Plus additional registers at jewelry, electronics, pharmacy, lawn and garden, deli and optical, Mades said.
The nonsupermarket section looks like a Target Greatlands, the supersized version of the discount department store.
There’s an optical store and garden center. And the Super-Targets will be among the first Target stores in the country to house the new prototype Target-run rather than outsourced, photo shop with state-of-the-art digital photo processing, Mades said.
Both SuperTargets are surrounded by other shopping center favorites such as Ross Dress for Less, Michael’s, Linens N Things and Pier 1 Imports. The shopping centers, both built by Desert Ridge Marketplace developer Vestar, include Desert Ridgelike touches, such as flowers and music coming from the lampposts in the parking lots, and specialty architectural elements such as the Western rustic decor Gateway Super-Target assistant manager Leonard Robinson dubs, "the OK Corral."
Some of the stores have already snuck open, and many more will be opening within the next few days or weeks.
SuperTargets each employ about 300, Mades said, and jobs are still available at both stores. Anybody looking for a position should apply in person, she