Nicole Corbat

Nicole Corbat came to Jackson from Wisconsin to be store director of the Target that is scheduled to open in April. Corbat, who has 15 years with the company, said she jumped at the opportunity to relocate to Wyoming. “It’s a new adventure and a new opportunity that I really feel like was meant for me,” she said. “I want the community to be happy that we’re here.”

You’ve seen the signs. You’ve heard the whispers. You’ve felt that tingling sensation in the bottom of your wallet and the despondent laments of “don’t go” from your Amazon Prime account.

That’s right, Target is coming.

In May the construction team began renovating the store in the Jackson Shopping Village that was built and operated as Kmart for more than two decades. The new Target location will be flanked by current tenants, including Headwall Sports, Big O Tires, Subway, Fitzgerald’s Bicycles and the new Chase Bank branch.

Nicole Corbat, the new Target store director and a 15-year veteran of the company, has relocated from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, to plant the seeds of bull’s-eye bounty here in Jackson.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Corb at said. “I trust the company, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the community. I’ll be living right here in Jackson, creating friendships and connections, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to continue to have Jackson excited we’re here, because that’s what it’s about: that community connection and relationship aspect as well.”

Corbat sat down to talk about the store opening and how she plans to cater to the locals. She also discussed the $24 per hour starting wage, what Target learned while adapting to the global pandemic and how Target is evolving to keep pace amid a changing retail landscape.

The following was condensed and edited for clarity.

Q. Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background with Target?

A. I grew up in Michigan, two hours north of Detroit, and went to college at Northern Michigan University. That’s really where I fell in love with small communities and the outdoors. Marquette still holds a special place in my heart. Marquette is also where I got my start for Target 15 years ago next month.

I started as executive team lead in the store, so I was leading a team of the store leaders. And I’ve built my way up from that. I’ve done a bit of everything, from guest experience to human resources to logistics, so I’ve seen all different aspects of the store. Eight years ago I was promoted to store director in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where I oversaw a store opening very similar to the one here in Jackson.

Q. How did opening the store in Sturgeon Bay lead you here to Jackson?

A. Sturgeon Bay is a very popular resort destination in the state, so when I got the call about Jackson, it felt like the right step to get involved. The high level of tourism combined with a local community aspect of both places are similar, and I’m comfortable with finding the balance between the two.

I want the locals to be so happy that [Target] is in town, so my goal is to cater to them because we’ll be with them all year.

Q. What has the process of opening the store entailed for you?

A. First and foremost it’s community outreach. The team at Target was up here early talking to people and assessing the needs of the community and how Target can be great for the local population.

I’m really excited I was able to identify an executive team lead of human resources locally. And it was really important to me to find a human resources lead locally. So we have officially locked in the entire executive-level leadership team. HR is local to the area, as I mentioned, and there was a promotion out of the Idaho Falls store for another.

Q. Is there a firm date set for the store opening yet?

A. The plan is early April. I don’t have a firm date to share yet.

Q. What exactly does your role as store director consist of?

A. Basically I oversee all of the operations within the store, so I have my handle on the logistics and keeping our shelves stocked. But Target also believes in having a strong culture, so making sure my human resources and my leaders are dialed in ... basically having my pulse on all the moving parts within the store.

Q. Target is advertising a pay wage of $24 an hour. Could you tell me more about that?

A. It was important to us to do that because I know that in Jackson it’s unique with the housing opportunity, so we wanted to make it worth our team’s while to apply. I want to bring that sense of community, care and growth to Jackson. I want the community to see that there are opportunities to grow with us, because we’re a performance-based company.

Q. What are you looking forward to about bringing Target to Jackson?

A. I’m excited about what we’re going to be able to offer our local community. Hearing people talk about the little specific things they can’t wait for, that energizes me.

I’ve already been humbled by speaking to people locally about their needs. Every person can share with me one item that they can’t wait to be able to find locally. One person shared that they can’t wait to shop for white socks, another said a bedside lamp, someone else mentioned string lights. ... so just being able to offer things they can’t find consistently in the community. That makes me want to work hard for these people. It’s why I picked up and moved 1,000 miles across the country.

And in the last few years with the pandemic, we’ve seen how we come together during times that are difficult and really support each other. It’s going to open up a whole slew of employment opportunities for people to live their best lives in Jackson.

Q. Speaking of the pandemic,. what was it like working for Target during that time?

A. Shortly before everything closed down, you could tell there was a lot of uncertainty and fear. Never in my life had I seen no toilet paper, no cleaning supplies, completely cleared out shelves.

We navigated that well within our team by having an open dialogue with our team and also with our guests.

But what I love about Target is they want us to talk about it, to share how we’re feeling. It was a lot of really open communication, having those conversations, checking in, within our team but also with our guests. It’s helped us through it and helped us work together to keep going.

That’s what my team in Wisconsin was able to do, and I’m proud of the community that rallied behind us too. I’m proud to work for a company that supports having those conversations.

Q. You’ve been with Target for 15 years now. With the dominance of e-commerce, how do you see the company evolving to keep up with the changing retail landscape?

A. What I really appreciate is [Target] has always focused on evolving and thinking about how do we continue to move forward in the future as the retail landscape is changing. So it’s exciting to see them take on digital. Most people don’t know that Target fulfills a huge number of orders online, and here in Jackson we’re going to have order pickup and drive-up, so you can order online and one of us can run it out to you or you can pick it up at the service desk. That’s why Target continues to be relevant. They’ve always had that eye for how they can continue to evolve.

Q. OK, business aside. What activities around the Jackson area are you going to be diving into?

A. I love hiking and outdoor activities. I run and ride my bike, so I’m excited to explore trails in the mountains. I’ll also probably pick up skiing again; it’s been a while. I was recently asking at a local bookstore if they have a book club or anything, because I want to do things to meet people.

The mountains are just so beautiful, I don’t know how anyone here gets anything done all day.

Contact Kate Ready at 732-7076 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

Editor in Chief Johanna Love has covered the Jackson Hole community as part of the News&Guide staff since 1998. She took the helm of the newsroom in 2017. She fields story tips and kudos as well as criticism and questions.

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(1) comment

James Peck

"Target store director aims for community support" (nice use of "aims" in a headline about Target) But, I mean, what's the real point of all this? Is it "news?"

Alternate headline: "Target store director aims for community disappointment" Come on. Don't get me wrong, I think we need Target. But this is another MEGA corporation siphoning off some Teton County dollars, no different from the big developers and their ilk.

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