What Target Doesn't Understand about Sweeping

Target's cuts in parking lot sweeping damage business, pavement

Target, one of the more successful department stores that anchors many a shopping location, doesn't seem to have a grasp at all of the value of sweeping their parking lots. Word on the street is the company, which several years ago hired contractors to sweep its parking lots seven nights a week gradually cut back as the economy struggled. First they cut to sweeping five nights a week, then to four and we're hearing now they're getting parking lots swept by a pro only one night a week.

What happens in between? Each location's janitorial staff is tasked with litter-picking the parking -- and we all know how successful that is and what the parking lot looks like afterwards.

So, what doesn't Target understand?

1. Target doesn't understand the impact of regular sweeping on stormwater runoff and water quality. Numerous studies have demonstrated the link -- so here's hope the communities Target serves will soon get on the company's case about improving their sweeping frequency to help improve water quality.

2. Target doesn't understand the value of a clean, attractive, well-maintained property to bringing the public through the doors. Many property managers understand that customers will drive by a dingy, unkempt property in favor of a business that looks clean and inviting. Just as fresh sealcoating and striping upgrades the curb appeal of a property, sweeping helps keep that curb appeal fresh.

3. Target doesn't understand the damage that abrasive debris can do to their sealcoat, their striping and their asphalt. The longer grit, sand and other debris sits on the surface the greater the damage to the pavement. Sealer and paint will wear prematurely and even asphalt can eventually be damaged -- the result being increased maintenance costs or even increased repair or paving costs.

Seems like if Target took a longer-term view and swept regularly like they used to they would be able to save themselves some money -- and be a better corporate citizen.

Then again, if you're a sealcoating, striping or paving contractor you might just want to start calling on your local Target because they're going to need your services sooner rather than later.