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‘Save the Austin Target’ petition gaining steam, but likely not enough

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More than 2,500 people in Austin, Minnesota, have signed their name to a petition pleading with Target not to close their local store.

Minneapolis-based Target named the store in Austin as one of 11 that would be closing nationwide at the beginning of February, and a "Save the Austin Target from Closing" Facebook page was created following the announcement.

The closure, putting 83 jobs at risk, will mean Austin citizens face a 34-mile trip to Owatonna to shop in a Target, or a 41-mile trip to Rochester.

Since the announcement, the protest movement has gathered support, with a petition on Change.org reaching almost 2,600 signatures, the Pioneer Press reports, while a Town Hall meeting is planned for Thursday.

On the petition web page, organizer Danielle Nesvold says: "The Austin, MN Target store is a huge source for community members in this Southeastern Minnesota region. We are devastated at the plan of closing this store ... that always seems to have a full parking lot and staffed with amazing employees."

"Target leaving is not a great idea because this community is going to be evolving ... into something so much bigger and brighter," she added.

Although local support for Target is high, Target told the Austin Daily Herald that it had chosen the stores for closure because of declining performance, and that the petition is unlikely to make a difference.

"We appreciate the interest, but the decision has been made and the store will close effective Feb. 1," spokesman Evan Lapiska told the newspaper.

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