The hoopla over Target |

The hoopla over Target

It was reportedly the biggest party of the year – and I missed it.

While I was entertaining my daughter at home – task for which I have no complaints – thousands of people were jamming up Highway 9, chasing their tails looking for a parking space and enjoying free music, food and drinks.

There was tailgating, countywide socializing and a descent by a large flock of the press.

Am I talking about the Mardi Gras celebration at Breckenridge or River Run? No. This celebration, communal gathering and downright good time took place at the invitation-only opening of the new Target store in Silverthorne.

Now, granted, no women exposed their upper torso parts as barter for cheap plastic beads, which is rumored to have happened at some other Fat Tuesday celebrations in the county, but still, for what amounts to the opening of a chain store, a festive mood hung in the air like exhaust on a subzero day.

I hate to admit it, but I also ended up in the throes of the new Target mania. I counted down the days until the opening. I felt the excitement in my gut when I passed by the nearly finished store. I salivated on the windows while sneaking a peak at the new merchandise S Never mind.

If you think about it, however, it doesn’t make much sense. It was, after all, just a store opening, and a Target store at that.

Don’t get me wrong, I like shopping at Target. The aisles are wide, the merchandise is set out in a pleasing manner and the store is clean and well-stocked, which, I might add, is unlike the other large chain store that currently occupies space in Frisco. But still, it’s just a Target.

Yet, its opening was treated as if Summit County were suddenly awarded a professional football team.

Are we mountain folks so starved for modern conveniences that we drool at the opening of a decent chain store? A store, I might add, that in any suburb would be hardly noticed?

Damn straight we are.

Not only is the ability to have everything we could possibly need in one spot a heady thought, but Target may also change the way the county comes together.

If opening night is any indication of the future, with residents as far away as Breckenridge already visiting the new store and people who have never thought of zagging off Interstate 70 at the Silverthorne exit now breaking that habit with a gleam in their eyes and retail lust in their hearts – then locals will be using Target as a kind of a community center.

Unfortunately, turning a store into a meeting place comes with one drawback. It could lead to conversations very much like this one.

“Hi Mayor Bill. How’s it going?

“Well, I’m fine Andrew.”

“I wanted to ask you about your position on the coming water conservation vote, but I see by the laxative you have in your cart that you’re going to vote like you’re all plugged up.”

“And I see by the Preparation-H in your basket Andrew that you’re a flaming @$$@$.”

As they say, familiarity breeds contempt.

Even though everyone in the county might one day know whether I wear boxers or briefs, I still wanted to go to the party.

Columnist Andrew Gmerek tries to be on target in this space every Friday. He can be reached at

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