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Resident's online petition aims to lure Target to Eldersburg

Andrea Eiblum and her family moved to Eldersburg from Baltimore County seven years ago, and love their new community.

"I love the area, I love the people, I love the community," said Eiblum.

What she doesn't quite love, though, is what she calls a lack of retail choices in her adopted home neighborhood; specifically one retailer that has no presence — Target.

There's nothing wrong with Walmart or other stores in Eldersburg, mind you — they're fine, she says. But Target, she believes, "takes it up a notch" when it comes to household goods, clothing and "natural" products.

She's called company officials and filled out a suggestion on the company's website suggesting that the Minnesota-based retailer pick Eldersburg for a new store — she received a polite response that she suspects was a form letter.

"I'm just discouraged by the lack of retail opportunities," she said. "The population here is growing, but is just seems like the retail hasn't caught up."

So at the end of July she took her campaign to a new level — starting an online petition called, "Target Store Request for Eldersburg, MD 21784."

"I thought maybe a petition might do some good, and everything is computer, email, Facebook — so I thought I'd try an online version," said Eiblum, the mother of a 7-year-old daughter.

In the petition, posted at ipetitions.com, Eiblum says, "The Eldersburg/Sykesville area ... needs a Target. We are a growing, amazing community that would like the opportunity to shop there more frequently AND bring jobs to our area."

Eiblum cites statistics showing that Eldersburg's average median income is $92,142, and the community's population has tripled since 1990 — and it is still growing.

"Many houses are being built and since we have some of the best schools in the country, it is expected that the population will continue to grow," she said in the petition.

Posted in late July, the petition only has 55 signatures as of this week — but Eiblum is reaching out to family, friends and neighbors to boost that number.

While there's no groundswell yet, some of those who have signed on to the petition have expressed enthusiasm.

One petition signer said in the comment section, "Please come to 21784. We need you," while another said, "A Target in our area is long overdue!!"

"When we moved to Eldersburg 10 years ago, we were convinced that retailers (such as Target) would notice that people were searching for affordable housing outside of Howard County, one of the wealthiest places in the nation," wrote another signer. "There is money to be spent, and some really nice retail space available."

Eiblum agrees — and already has a spot in mind — she said she watched recently as the Kmart store in the Carrolltown Center closed, and "I just think that would be an ideal place" for a Target.

Officials at Target said this week they are flattered that Eiblum feels strongly about their store ... but they have no immediate plan to expand in Carroll.

"Target enjoys serving our guests in Carroll County and throughout Maryland, but we have no plans for a store in Eldersburg/Sykesville," wrote Erin Conroy, a spokeswoman for Target, in an email to The Eagle. "Target store locations are determined by a variety of factors, ensuring we build stores that are a good fit for the community while making the best use of our capital long term.

"We appreciate Ms. Eiblum's passion for shopping at Target," wrote Conroy.

That's not likely to deter Eiblum, who said she hopes to gather several hundred signatures on the petition, then perhaps talk with corporate officials, and maybe contact County Commissioner Doug Howard, who represents Eldersburg and Sykesville, and officials at Black Oak Associates, the owners of Carrolltown Center.

"I'm just trying to find the right people," she said. "I'm a firm believer in less complaining and more action."

To find Andrea Eiblum's petition online, go to http://www.ipetitions.com and type "Target Store Request for Eldersburg" in the search field.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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