Today is a national day of celebration in Canada. We are not in a state of bliss because our hockey team won a gold medal, or because Justin Bieber sold another million records; we celebrate because Target is finally coming to Canada.
From a risk perspective, should other retailers in Canada be worried? Yes. But, maybe not. (After all, the other retailers include American Eagle, Walmart, Banana Republic and Victoria’s Secret.) But enough about risk.
I don’t know what it is about Target that Canadians love so much. It’s just another retailer, but it has clothing, toys and food that we usually cannot get at home. On my last visit I picked up a Dr. Pepper “I’m a Pepper” t-shirt, SpongeBob SquarePants pasta and DVDs with no French writing on them! With most of us living within two hours from the US, many of us have enjoyed many cross-border shopping experiences by wandering the aisles of the Target. (I once drove around Buffalo, visiting five Target stores in an hour looking for something that was sold out of the others.)
I think as Canadians, we’ve always loved the stores and products we don’t have at home. When I was in my late teens, semi-annual trips to Plattsburgh, NY were the norm, so we could shop at the Bass Shoes, Patagonia or eat at Pizza Hut and drink Mountain Dew – all of which were unavailable in Canada at the time. And of course we’d bring back about six boxes of Cookie Crisp cereal (which until Costco started carrying it in 2010, was still unavailable in the Great White North).
And if we can use the craziness we saw when Krispy Kreme opened their first stores up here, Target is going to be packed when they open. (Regarding Krispy Kreme, when it opened people waited for an hour just to buy the sticky sweet goodness. I confess that I’d only wait long enough to get a free sample in line, then leave!)
So when Target finally gets here in 2013 I wonder what will change. Will it be as great and cool as the US version and will we stop going to the US when all of the US has finally come here? I think we will always love our cross-border shopping, and I strongly doubt they will ever sell SpongeBob SquarePants pasta up here.