Is survival possible for the newest Tenleytown stores?

Hadley Carr and Rigby Zentner

Tenleytown has long been the center of activity for students at Wilson. So with many stores going out of business, their replacements are held to higher expectations. Wawa recently filled the place of Sears, and its cheap snacks and convenient location have proved worthy in the eyes of Wilson students. The question to be asked, however, is if the new businesses of Target and Chase Bank will measure up.

Target exists by the motto “Expect more. Pay less” and offers many items, ranging from home decor to clothes and food. Target has recently been on an expansion spree in the DC area, opening more than five stores in the past year. On September 23, Target held a job fair in the Tenleytown library, hiring 80 employees to serve the “local families and residents, college students, and daily commuters across the DC metro area,” as stated by Target Senior Director of DC, Jason Ramey. 

Tenleytown Target’s “small-format” was initially planning to hold its grand opening on November 10, however the excitement demonstrated by hopeful consumers led to Target’s early opening on November 6th. Nevertheless, based on the crowds on their grand opening, the overtime was well worth it.

 When entering the store, one may become overwhelmed by the bustling business. With a constant stream of customers walking through the decorative balloon display, clothes were piled outside the fitting rooms, music was booming, and customers were in nearly every aisle. Many Wilson students were present in addition to local shoppers. Agnes Wanderer spoke for her family’s excitement, explaining her plans to purchase “kid’s clothing, toiletries, and household goods.” Given Tenleytown’s residential neighborhood, it is likely many families will shuffle in to Target in hopes of acquiring similar products.

As for the business projection of Target itself, the franchise’s economic strategy of producing low-cost merchandise may appeal to many customers in the area. Target will be the only store in Tenleytown that sells clothing, furniture, and video games. However, some believe that Target will not be a beneficial economic addition to the area. Sophomore Ale Topa projected that “the disappearance of Best Buy creates a net loss for the area.” The absence of businesses and increase in renovation over the span of at least five months caused a decrease in the neighborhood’s overall money earned. Moreover, as math teacher Patricia Milikin mentioned, Target may not last due to the lack of parking for those who don’t live in the neighborhood.

 Chase Bank will also enter Tenleytown, replacing Burger Tap and Shake. Though some may love the idea of Chase due to its marketing of fewer fees, more plentiful ATMs, and online options, the New York-based bank does not hold an appeal to teachers and students who are most likely already members of a different bank. Due to the lack of membership to Chase Bank, many had difficulty commenting on the projection of it. In addition to this, the area is very populated with banks, so unless Chase is already used, its location and installation is not practical. Biology teacher Philip Bechara added, “Tenleytown is a relatively speaking affluential area and affluential areas in America tend to already have lots of banks.”

In response to the installation of Chase Manhattan Bank, some tweeters are disappointed that the restaurant Burger Tap & Shake is being replaced with another bank. After Twitter account Tenleytown & Around announced the addition of Chase to the neighborhood, Nick Lanyi responded proclaiming this “terrible news.” Phillip Waggoner added that the installation is “disappointing to say the least.” In response to a similar report from a popular D.C. blog, the majority of people are also disappointed by the lack of small businesses in Tenleytown. 

Nevertheless, after Target’s opening on November 10 and Chase’s debut inevitable and unwanted, the fate of the businesses will be based on the choices of consumers in Tenleytown.