The fall of Target

By Jessica Ball

There's a few things Australians can use to measure how big a regional town is.

How many McDonald's it has, the number of sets of traffic lights and if it has a Target Country or the fully fledged version.

The third is about to be taken away with the announcement the shopping stalwarts will either be rebranded as Kmart stores or close their doors completely.

I grew up on the outskirts of the one Maccas, three traffic lights and Target Country type of town of Hamilton.

Sitting in the middle of the main street our Target Country had been on of the few shops to stand the test of time.

I remember watching the store burn down one Friday night with a crowd of onlookers worried about their Christmas laybys when I was in Grade 2.

They rebuilt and a few years later at 16 I did my first ever job interview at that Target Country.

I was so proud to get the job.

Each week I did a few after school and weekend shifts serving customers, cleaning up the aisles and looking after the change rooms until I graduated high school.

As a teenager, a first job and a little bit of income was a huge sense of independence.

But it also built my confidence - when I started no-one would have expected that shy teenager would eventually be doing the closing time voice over.

I was on the registers when the business switched to paid compostable bags over a decade ago.

If you think people weren't ready for the change two years ago you can only imagine the outraged customers we had to deal with pre-2010.

And I'm not alone, I know many people who started their working days at a Target.

While I was scanning items in Hamilton my future best university friend was doing the same in Mildura, as was the first friend I made in Benalla.

It's sad to think that sometime during the next 12 months when I visit home the store that gave me by first job will no longer be standing in the main street.