Target Takes Aim at Queens and the Borough Fires Back

(THE CITY)  Christine Chung, May 13, 2019

Target has Queens in its sights, with new stores planned for Astoria and Elmhurst — but activists in both neighborhoods are waging separate battles to boot the big-box retailer.

The Targets are set to open by 2022 on bustling blocks steps away from subway stations and near grocery stores, pharmacies, newsstands and restaurants.

Opponents fear the chain stores will erase union jobs and mom-and-pop shops, and lead to potential displacement of longtime residents.

“These corporations — Amazon, Target, Walmart, whoever — treat our neighborhoods like corporate playgrounds, and think our people are just open wallets,” said Patricia Chou, an organizer with Queens Neighborhoods United, a grassroots group that is taking legal action to stop the Elmhurst store.

Meanwhile, local elected officials, labor and community leaders are scheduled to rally Friday afternoon in front of one of the threatened retailers, a Key Food in Astoria.

Target currently counts 78 stores in the greater New York area, employing a workforce of more than 17,000, said Jacqueline DeBuse, a spokesperson for the chain.

Some 15 of the New York outlets are smaller-format stores averaging 40,000 square feet, one-third of the size of a standard location. Target plans to open eight more of these mini-stores across the city over the next few years, including the Astoria and Elmhurst branches.

“These stores bring us closer to new and existing guests, and give us the opportunity to meet the needs of new communities,” said DeBuse, touting the smaller stores as an “easy and inspiring shopping experience.”

Source: The City