A new Target is coming to Flatbush and not everyone in the community is happy about it.
Last month it was reported the retail giant would be adding to their presence in Brooklyn, taking over the building at 2101 Church Avenue that was formerly Modell's.
Since the news broke, reactions have been mixed. While some local residents have expressed excitement over the announcement, a vocal contingent within the community is concerned.
Two weeks ago, a petition was launched to halt the plans. "Once again, gentrification is targeting our neighborhood by opening up an actual Target on Church avenue in Flatbush," it reads. "This will not help preserve the culture of Flatbush, it would only strip it away."
The petition, which now has over 1,700 signatures, was started by the recently formed Protect Flatbush.
In a March 2 letter to Community Board 14, which was posted to the group's Instagram account, the group said: "The Flatbush strip is already congested. Bringing this Target to Church Avenue would increase that, affect small businesses in the community, and (of course) speed up the gentrification process in Flatbush."
Signers of the petition agree. "There is no need for another Target in this area - there are plenty of small businesses that carry groceries, hardware, and clothing that can provide Little Caribbean residents with what they need," one commented. Others pointed to the issue of added foot traffic to the already crowded commercial area.
However, some in the neighborhood are more receptive. "It's an amazing idea," Shawn Kaid, an employee at the nearby TNBA Electronics Store, said. "It's going to actually bring business to the neighborhood."
Despite the close proximity of some of the other locations, Kaid still thinks the Church Avenue store would be a welcome presence. "A lot of people don't want to go to Junction -- that's the closest target," he said.
Jaimie, an employee at the We Fix U Store at 1914 Church Ave, said she wasn't too concerned about the effects of a major retail chain moving into the neighborhood. "It would definitely impact us, but not in a lot of ways because they have different products than we have."
Target currently has six locations in Brooklyn, including one at nearby Flatbush Junction. The company also plans to open a location in the Caesar's Bay Shopping Center in Gravesend later this month as well as another on Kings Highway in East Flatbush.
Target has confirmed plans for the store, but has not yet given a time frame for opening. "As we get closer to opening the store, we'll have more specific details to share," Target spokesperson Aryn Ridge told Bklyner.