And why wouldn’t we? Where else can you find neon pink dog leashes, graduation-themed photo albums, sidewalk chalk, wicker lawn chairs, mascara, monkey-shaped sippy cup and cookie jar sets, HDTVs, soccer balls, Hannah Montana PJ’s, and “Live/Laugh/Love” wall hangings all under one roof?

The long-awaited opening of the city’s largest shopping mall began at 8:00 this morning with throngs of shoppers bursting through the doors. The corner of 14th and Irving in Columbia Heights will never be the same.

Barbara Rich lives in Northeast D.C. but says she goes to Target “all the time” at its various Maryland locations. She visited the new Target this morning after having spent $117 yesterday at another Target. She made no bones about the fact that the blouse and pants in her hand were nothing but an impulse buy.

Barbara and her friend, Eileen Stevenson, agree that the new store is the nicest they’ve been to – and Eileen has been going traveling from her home in Northwest D.C. all the way to Columbia, MD for the very best selection Target has to offer. She thinks the 159,000 square foot store in Columbia Heights is even better.

John Oldknow lives right across the street in one of the new condos that sprang up alongside the “DC USA” development, as the new Target retail complex is called. He’s excited for CVS to have some competition. He says he’s tired of buying everything at CVS, where they keep everything locked up (really just the condoms and deodorant, but he seems to find it egregiously annoying) and you have to go get someone to open up the case for you. He admits to being a little worried about the “mayhem” the huge shopping center will bring, but says “the city needs it.”

Jackeline Romero, a new employee, says there was an employee’s party last night with lots of food and mariachi bands and samba music. She said the music was Latin-themed in honor of the character of the neighborhood they’re moving into.

The place is oppressively red, especially when you first walk in, trumpeting Target’s signature color so loud it brought back memories of the Shining. It still has that new-Target smell, and best of all, it has separate escalators for shopping carts to travel between floors.

A person who works security at the new store said there hadn’t been any problems and she didn’t expect any. “People have waited a long time to have this store and to have this community change,” she said. —-Tanya Snyder

Photo by IntangibleArts