On Friday (Nov. 7), The City Wire reported on a confusing advertising circular mailed by Target Corp. to Fort Smith area residents prior to the opening of its Fort Smith story. That report noted:
“Key members of the chancellor’s office at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith are puzzled about the community investment program touted by Target.
“As Minneapolis, Minn.-based Target Corp. prepared to open its new store in Fort Smith, it mailed an advertising circular to people in the Fort Smith market area telling them of the Oct. 12 opening and explaining how shopping at Target can help the local community.
“The circular noted: ‘You’ll love getting to know your new Fort Smith Target. Simply by shopping with us you do good in the community. That’s because we give 5% of our income — over $3 million every week — to education, arts and social services organizations, including the University of Central Arkansas Foundation and the Fort Smith Police Department.’
The FSPD is understandable. But the University of Central Arkansas? That university is based in Conway.
Dr. Arleene Breaux, vice chancellor for university relations/executive assistant to the chancellor at UAFS, said she placed numerous phone calls in the past three weeks to Target officials — including calls to the cell phone of the Fort Smith Target store manager.
“We’ve got nothing,” Breaux said Friday (Nov. 7) when asked about a response.
A Target spokeswoman would not speculate about the UAFS foundation being included in Target’s community program. She did say she would call back ‘sometime next week’ with clarification.”
Jana O’Leary, a spokeswoman for Target but not the spokeswoman who spoke on Nov. 7, said Tuesday (Nov. 11) that the circular is not a mistake. She said the circular features Arkansas organizations that applied for and received inclusion into Target’s grant programs. Further, she noted, the circular was “regionalized” to include the closest approved grant recipients.
If UAFS officials apply for and are accepted, they will be eligible for 2009 grant offerings, O’Leary advised.
A UAFS official said the application would be considered, but expressed frustration at not being aware of the program and the lack of response from Target during the several weeks university officials made numerous unreturned phone calls to the retailer’s headquarters in Minneapolis.