EAST PEORIA – It’s major milestone for one of the biggest new developments in central Illinois in years. East Peoria opened the doors to a new Target store, an anchor for its downtown Levee District.
“One, two, three,” counted Target store leader Jessica Hastings before cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
And just like that, the East Peoria community celebrated its newest retail store. Dozens of shoppers joined Mayor Dave Mingus and other city leaders for the ribbon cutting.
“Oh, I don’t know if that parking lot’s going to hold this. I mean it’s really impressive,” said shopper Elizabeth Bishop.
However, Mingus says the excitement represents more than a store opening. He thinks its evidence of the Levee District’s emergence and the future of the local economy.
“Retail is important, but the outcome of this retail for the future of the city is crucial,” he said.
“You know it’s just been really great to see the fantastic response from the community and my team members’ friends and family. We’re really excited about what we’ve seen so far,” said Hastings.
Mingus expects the store to produce a revenue source that will hopefully improve the revenue of the community and region. The store is already doing that for one woman and her family.
“It means a job. My husband has been unemployed for — I would say about a year — and finally target gave us that opportunity to help our family and give him an opportunity to get back in the workforce,” said one shopper who identified herself as “Mary.”
Target will start opening at regular store hours Tuesday at 8 a.m. The store will host a grand opening on Sunday.