Target pre-opening party draws many |

Target pre-opening party draws many

SILVERTHORNE – Waiters and waitresses sported black tie dress. Guests tasted hors d’oeuvres ornately topped with such exotic delights as smoked trout and baba Ghanoush. A trio of musicians filled the venue with music, and outside, police parked an endless stream of cars.

It was, some locals said, the biggest social event of the season. It was not Wine in the Pines, Monte Carlo Night, nor even a Summit County Chamber mixer. It was the opening of Target.

Silverthorne’s Target threw open its doors to more than 2,000 shoppers during a four-hour pre-opening night of shopping Tuesday. While the event was originally slated as invitation only, word of mouth brought eager shoppers from all over the county and beyond.

“I’ve never seen this many locals in one place,” said real estate broker Eddie O’Brien.

Two Summit County businesswomen even tail-gated in the parking lot before the 5 p.m. opening.

“We had a couple of wine coolers before we went in,” said Alison Palmer, who runs Breckenridge’s Visitor Information television station. “Rumors were flying there were going to be 5,000 people there, so we got a little nervous we wouldn’t be able to park and got there about 4:30.”

Palmer filled three carts full of items, and spent about $300. Before Tuesday, Palmer and her husband drove to Denver to shop. They hadn’t made that trip since the New Year, and in anticipation of the new store’s opening, Palmer said she had been keeping a list of needed supplies for more than two months.

Adrienne Bryson, who works at Frisco thrift store Rags to Riches, said her store closed a half hour early so all the employees could make the 5 p.m. opening of Target. Bryson, who lives in Silverthorne, said, “I think my property values are going up. We’ve been waiting for this forever. I have no reason to go to Frisco (Wal-Mart) anymore.”

Silverthorne Mayor Lou DelPiccolo, who described the store’s groundbreaking last spring as one of the proudest moments of his mayoral career, was cruising the aisles with a roll of athletic tape in his red Target basket.

Wanting to bring more sales tax to a town supported only by sales tax revenues, DelPiccolo led the effort two years ago to recruit Target. The town gave the company financial incentives to locate in Silverthorne. At the time, Target was searching for a store site along Interstate 70’s mountain corridor.

“Let “em ring,” the mayor said, referring to the store’s cash registers, “and let the word spread.”

One aisle over, Sheriff Joe Morales was searching in vain for his wife, Melissa.

“It’s her birthday,” he said. “That’s her present – she can go around and buy whatever she wants.

“I bought myself two Hot Wheels cars.”

Outside, Silverthorne police stood in the snowy night, directing traffic to overflow lots and manually controlling traffic at the new Annie Road traffic signal, installed to help shoppers get in and out of Target. The signal cycles weren’t long enough to keep up with the flow of vehicles, police said, but the light will be adjusted to better accommodate traffic.

Store manager Bill Kelt was beaming Tuesday.

“We’re tracking sales by the hour, and we’re way above forecast,” he said. “The community is excited, and they’re coming in droves.”

Target expects to bring in about $1 million in sales tax revenues to the town per year.


Target’s Grand Opening:

Saturday festivities: fireworks at 8 p.m.

Sunday festivities: starting at 8 a.m.

First 1,000 customers will be served a free meal and a gift bag

Appearance by Scooby Doo, face painting, balloons, live music

Silverthorne Police will direct traffic Saturday and Sunday

Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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