The debate over the last few years about allowing a Target store to open in Davis has been particularly illustrative of what makes Davis a great college town.
While the dispute was contentious and sometimes ugly, the fact that it even existed is something Davisites should be proud of. It’s rare, and almost unheard of, for a small town to show opposition to a sales tax cash cow like Target setting up shop within its boundaries.
Politically and socially conscious Davis citizens, worried about issues ranging from the homogenization of America, to sweatshop labor in Asia, to the environment, demanded their voices be heard and brought these global problems to a local level. Their concerns eventually prompted Target to implement various sustainability improvements to its Davis store.
To all those over the last four years who’ve been upset about big box stores, consumerism and the plight of the mom and pop shop: It’s not that bad.
For one, this store is located in what is already the most uniform middle class suburban part of Davis. There isn’t a whole lot of charm to be lost in East Davis anyway; the college town feeling and small town appeal valued by so many won’t be impacted.
Some of the opposition to the Target stemmed from the fear that allowing a large corporate store in Davis would hurt independent shops. The problem with this logic is that many of the items that will be purchased at this Target would otherwise have likely been bought at other corporate chains in Davis like The Gap, Borders Books, Rite Aid, CVS/pharmacy, Big 5, RadioShack, Ace Hardware or Safeway.
The independent stores in Davis are often too expensive or too specialized for most students; having a Target in town will make shopping easier and cheaper for Davis‘ large student population. As it is now, many students find a ride to the Target in Woodland, which drains valuable sales tax dollars from the city of Davis.
So when Target has its grand opening Sunday, no one need mourn the death of the Davis we love. As long as Davisites continue to appreciate the town’s character and have debates like this one, the city’s unique nature will endure.
And look on the bright side – at least it’s not a Wal-Mart.