After closing the doors to regular customers on Thursday evening (Aug. 26), staff at the Target department store at Clearview Mall prepared for the arrival of a few very important guests about 600 first-year Tulane students.
The scene was far from an ordinary evening of shopping at the Metairie, La., store. A disc jockey pumped hip-hop music through the intercom, and store employees danced in the aisles alongside students as they shopped.
Will Fairburn, a 2007 graduate of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane, is executive manager of guest experience at the Target store. He says, “We ordered a lot of extras so that the things the students needed would be in stock and ready to take with them. Mini fridges, Xbox and PlayStation systems, curling irons, shampoo, plastic bins and plastic hangers are a few of the items we stocked up on.”
Although the event was free, students were asked to pay a $10 deposit to secure their seat on a bus for the trip to the mall. Upon arrival at the store, each student was handed a $10 Target gift card. They also received a parting gift bag.
The students had the store to themselves between 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., and a moving truck was on hand to transport large items, if necessary.
Target stores around the country sponsor Target After-Hours Shopping Events in cooperation with universities, but this occasion was the first of its kind in New Orleans. The event was facilitated through the Tulane Office of Orientation and Student Transitions.
“We don't have a lot of big stores near campus and sometimes we have to send our new students far away when they need something to set up their rooms,” says Penny Wyatt, director of orientation and student transitions. “We hope that this will become an annual Welcome Week event for our new students because it will certainly cut down the stress of getting to a store in a city they aren't familiar with yet.”