A huge announcement

Published 10:10 pm Thursday, February 18, 2016

Target, one of the nation’s most popular retailers, will be going on a hiring spree in Suffolk soon. The company announced this week that it will be adding 600 new positions in the city. Unfortunately those positions will not be in support of a new Target retail outlet.

Still, 600 new jobs is a huge deal, and Suffolk officials are understandably ecstatic about the announcement, which provides important context to news last April that the Target Import Warehouse on Manning Bridge Road would be investing $50 million to turn the facility into an “upstream distribution center.”

Suffolk is experiencing a run of success in the warehousing and distribution sector, having earlier this month learned that Emser Tile will build a $16.25-million facility in the nearby CenterPoint Intermodal Center that will employ 98 people. CenterPoint is already home to distribution centers for Ace Hardware (75 jobs), the Naval Exchange Service Command (more than 150 jobs) and furniture company Friant (166 jobs). California Cartage Co. has a facility employing another 218 at the Virginia Commerce Center on nearby Kenyon Road. And, of course, none of this counts the various other warehousing and distribution facilities located in other parts of the city — companies like QVC that see Suffolk as the perfect location for packaging and repackaging goods for distribution throughout the nation, with Suffolk at the head of the supply chain.

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City officials have had an inkling of the scope of Target’s hiring plans since the original announcement in April, but making the news public had to wait for the company’s plans to come together for expanding the services offered in its Suffolk facility. We suspect keeping that secret for 10 months has been a tough job for everyone who was privy to it.

Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but we’d love to learn that officials are sitting on a further secret: that Target has plans for a new retail store in the city. We certainly join Suffolk officials in celebrating 600 new jobs, but it’s a safe bet that we’re not alone in wishing Target’s 700 eventual employees — along with tens of thousands of other Suffolkians — would love to be able to stay in the city to buy the products the company sells.

Maybe someday.