A scramble to save Target: Hastings business, city leaders hope retailer reverses decision to close
Target may have announced that the Hastings store will be closing in February 2018, but the Hastings Chamber of Commerce is trying to reverse the decision.
"We're still fighting," said Kristy Barse, president of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce. The chamber does not know if there is anything that can be done to keep the store open, but they have taken a few steps to try.
Barse said that she has connected with her counterparts in the cities of Austin and New Ulm, who also had Targets close in 2014 and 2015. She said that those cities were also devastated by the loss, tried to change Target's mind and were unfortunately unsuccessful in those efforts.
Barse said that she has been working with local CEOs and community leaders to write letters to the corporation. The president of Regina Hospital plans to write a letter, she said. Barse is not sure that Target knew of the recent $63 million dollar investment that Allina Health has made in the community.
In addition to the efforts of the Chamber, community members have been signing a petition on change.org to keep the Target store open. Six days after the announcement, the petition had more than 3,000 signatures. "Hastings continues to grow. Target should expand into super target, not close! Please reconsider!!!" said one petition supporter.
The City of Hastings has been in communication with representatives of Target and the Chamber. Morgan Hill, economic development coordinator for the city, has also been in contact with Greater MSP, and the state Department of Employment and Economic Development's rapid response team.
Hill said that communication will be a big piece in the road ahead.
A Target spokesperson has said that the decision to close a store is not made lightly. Many factors go into the decision making process, but the particular store in Hastings has seen several years of decreasing profitability.
Hill said that she will continue to communicate with Target to get a better understanding of those decision making processes as the community moves forward and prepares for both the impact and opportunity of the closure. She will work with the property owners to help market the property.
"As a city, we always strive to be welcoming to all businesses ... that are looking at our community as an option," Hill said.
If the measures to reverse Target's decision about the closure are unsuccessful, Barse said that the Chamber will do what they can to support new potential business. As for the community, it might be disappointing for a while.
"I think that this is an unfortunate reminder for community members of the importance of keeping their money here in town," Barse said.
Even with the loss of Target, Barse sees a lot of positivity within the local business community. There have been several ribbon cuttings in the past year, there is the Allina investment in the community and smaller businesses planning to reinvest.