Reception to Wal-Mart, Target like night and day
Wal-Mart opponents cite traffic concerns and worries about its corporate reputation
While the Kapolei community did not welcome Wal-Mart, it quickly embraced Target.
The retailer's first in Hawaii
Location: Kapolei Commons, Kalaeloa Blvd., across from Home Depot
Opening: first half of 2009
Size: 160,000 square feet
Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minn.
The retailer's ninth in Hawaii
Location: Makakilo Drive/Farrington Highway
Opening: first announced as 2008
Size: 140,000 square feet
Headquarters: Bentonville, Ark.
The contrast between the neighborhood board and community reaction this week and in June of last year to the two mainland big-box retailers was like night and day.
When Wal-Mart went before the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale neighborhood board, it faced an angry group of activists, and eventually a board vote to oppose it.
When Target representatives went before the board on Wednesday, they walked out with words of welcome and the majority of the board's support.
Maeda Timson, chairwoman of the board said: "I did not get one negative e-mail about Target, but I got seven asking when are they coming?"
Right on Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corp.
plans to open its first store in the first half of 2009, at Kapolei Commons, a new mall being developed by the MacNaughton Group
and Kobayashi Group
The open-air mall, is expected to go up next to the H-1 freeway on Kalaeloa Boulevard, near Home Depot. Target also plans a second store at the former Costco Wholesale site in Salt Lake.
Eric Padget, Target's development property manager, did not have renderings of the future store, nor specific details for the scheduled presentation. He offered Target's history and recited the motto: "Expect more. Pay less."
While residents and board members had plenty of questions for Padget, the overall sentiment was welcoming.
The only two board members who voted not to support Target, Kioni Dudley and Brent Buckley, said they did so because they said there wasn't enough information yet.
Hawaii's first Target store, at 160,000 square feet, will be larger the usual format by about 35,000 square feet, and 20,000 square feet larger than the proposed Wal-Mart in Kapolei.
The Target will be larger than usual to accommodate more stockroom space, said Padget, so that containers won't sit in the parking lot. His comment received a smattering of applause.
He agreed to return in the fall, with further design details.
When Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
presented its plans before the Kapolei board last year, on the other hand, a community group had already begun a campaign to keep the corporation out.
Kapolei First, a small community group, had sponsored a sign-waving campaign, and distributed fliers alleging that Wal-Mart planned a superstore and "traffic nightmare."
Then the group showed up in full force to speak out against the store, prompting the board to vote its opposition to Wal-Mart's proposed development.
Spokesman Kevin McCall did not have renderings or specifics, either, because, he said, the project was still in the early stages of development.
Wal-Mart later hosted an open house, with renderings and a traffic engineer.
Wal-Mart is still waiting for its building permit, he said, but purchased the site last year and plans to move forward with its store in Kapolei.
It is still targeting an opening date of 2008.
McCall said he hopes to update the neighborhood board of its plans, once more information is available.
"We just want to be a good neighbor," he said.
Carolyn Golojuch, spokes-woman of Kapolei First, said location is a key difference.
"Wal-Mart is going in the middle of all the traffic," said Golojuch. "Target has picked a place easily accessible to the freeway that will not congest the Makakilo and Farrington intersection."
But she admitted her anti-Wal-Mart position also has to do with the corporation's reputation.
Kapolei residents Al and Jonny Willing said, likewise, they would support Target, but not Wal-Mart.
"They (Wal-Mart) are just not very good community citizens," said Jonny Willing. "Target is a better, community-minded business. They give back to the community."
The Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart has born the brunt of national criticism, through books, movies and Web sites, as well as class-action lawsuits.
In an effort to turn the tide in Hawaii, Wal-Mart collected more than 5,000 cards from customers during a weeklong survey at the Kunia store, indicating they would support a store in Kapolei.
Target, with more than 1,500 locations across the nation, typically dedicates 5 percent of its income to the community.
In 2006, Wal-Mart reported giving away $599,445 in cash and in-kind donations to local Hawaii charities.