Target arrives in Alaska, sponsors Iditarod program

A freshly painted building on Muldoon with the Target sign proudly displaying, has confirmed the rumors that have been circulating for years. Target, the fifth largest retailer in the United States, has come to Alaska.

First opening their doors in 1962, Target now owns more than 1,300 stores in 47 states. So why does Alaska just now get included?

Amy Von Walter, a spokeswoman for Target, said the company have been debating over an Alaskan opening for several years. ,When it comes to big chain stores, “there’s not many in Alaska that compare to the lower continental U.S., so that gives us some good promises,” she said.

Construction has begun on both the Anchorage and Wasilla sites, with scheduled openings for October 2008.

Target is placing their footprint elsewhere in Alaska by sponsoring Teacher-On-The-Trail’s Jane Blaile. Teacher-On-The-Trail is a program started by the Iditarod Trail Committee. Throughout the next year, the fifth-grade teacher will be placing curriculum on www.iditarod.com that is based on her experience in Alaska villages.

“I want the personal experience (of traveling to Alaska villages),” Blaile said. “I love learning. I want to get accurate, real information on Alaska so I can teach others about it.”

Blaile will be traveling the trail by way of the Iditarod Air Force, sharing her experience with students through the Internet along the way. Blogging, videoconferencing and other technologies will allow interaction with her students in Phoenix.

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Target’s progression into Alaska will move forward slowly, but may find a place with UAA’s job-seeking students with relative ease.

Ever career minded collegegrad.com found Target to be eighth on the list of the nation’s top 500 entry-level employers, and sixth on the list of the nation’s top intern employers.

For those who desire the shopping selection, the superstore will have plenty to offer college students, from dorm-room supplies to clothing.

“We’ll be having sales for going back to school every August,” Von Walter said. “You can buy everything at Target, from fashion trends to furnishing to pharmaceuticals, and even a limited selection of food.”

Some students still remain cautious about the superstore’s scope of quality.

“I’m usually hesitant to embrace any superstores,” said Jacob Dee, a freshman history major at UAA. “Quality gets lost in larger corporations. I like to support smaller businesses. But on the other hand, I’d much rather support Target than Wal-Mart.”

Target has also affiliated itself with other campuses in the way of courtesy transportation, busing college students from their campus to the store and back, providing the necessary means of travel for those without it. Target is planning to provide transportation for 15 schools in 2008, but a decision about UAA is still tentative.