Houston skyline at night, the team volunteering, and a sunny beach

We’re hitting the road this summer, soaking up local flavors and hidden gems across the country. Our inspiration? Our very own Target teams! Because, turns out that the best tour guides rock red and khaki.

First, we checked in with Daniel and team in Raleigh, North Carolina. Now, buckle up for a long-horn-sized adventure, y’all. Today we’re exploring beautiful Houston, Texas with Katie Dolton, store team leader at our Katy Freeway store.

Katie, you’re new(ish) to Houston. What do you think so far?
Katie smiles with another team member, and also pictured are a We Love Houston sign and skylineI love it! There’s great shopping (at the Galleria—one of the biggest malls in America), excellent museums and seriously beautiful outdoor spaces. Everything you could want. But the best part, by far—the people. Everyone’s been so welcoming, friendly and down-to-earth—especially my Target team! Within a few weeks of my move from L.A., they had me feeling like a Houstonian.

As you’ve explored the city, what are your favorite finds?
The beach at sunset with a ferris wheel in the background
I’m an avid runner—it’s one of the best ways to see Houston. You can’t beat a morning run through Memorial City Park (our “Central Park”), a trail trek through Buffalo Bayou, which snakes through the whole city, or a sunset jog along Galveston beach. You’ll see people picnicking, golfing, playing volleyball, even grabbing tubes and floating in the Bayou. And as a foodie, I’m in heaven here. The culinary scene is on-point, with lots of interesting influences (for instance, think English pub meets Indian).

But, I have to say—there’s nothing more Texan than a good rodeo. And Houston just happens to host the biggest livestock show and rodeo in the world. My team introduced me, and I couldn’t get enough. This is no two-day event. It’s a full three weeks packed with grill-offs, carnivals, music, and roping and riding, of course. They’ve even made cowboy boots onsite—and if you’re going to live in Texas, you must own a pair. Because the whole city goes, we even get into the spirit at our store. We’ll put together fun displays of plaid shirts, denim and cowboy hats for rodeo goers.

If we could live a day in your boots, what else would we see at your store?
Team member in an office full of red balloons, the team with sparklers, and team members doing push-upsWalk in any day of the week, and you’ll see us making sure guests get exactly what they need. Example? Typhoon Texas, a huge new waterpark, opened a few miles up the road, so we’re the go-to for everything swim. We’re working fast and furiously to keep swim wear, sunscreen and flip flops in-stock. What you might not see (but we hope you feel!) is all the fun we have together. We have these amazing little moments, like surprising one team member by filling his office with 500 balloons for his birthday, or challenging each other to push-ups to mark big milestones. And that fun brings a sparkle to our store, making it even more fun to shop. We’ve even been known to cook a feast for the team to recognize a job well done!

So, what’s cooking?
Katie and two team members grillingBBQ, for sure. Texans don’t mess around when it comes to grilling—brisket, ribs and sausage, with a big pot of beans on the side. But, one of our coolest team events was a crawfish boil. Believe me—Houstonians have the Cajun know-how to do a delicious, authentic creole boil! One of our leaders invited us all to his home for a Taboo showdown with our families (we love a good game that lets personalities shine) and this incredible feast. Imagine steaming crawfish, potatoes, ears of sweetcorn and more (I can’t give away all the secrets)… all boiled together and served on a huge-newspaper-covered table. So, so good!

Sounds like you guys have lots of fun and lots of heart—how do you spread the love in your community?
The team, wearing red t-shirts, jump in from of a Houston Food Bank signWe jump (sometimes literally!) right in to support our local community every chance we get. One of my favorite ways to give back: Heading to Houston Food to sort and pack food for those in need of a little extra help. Our store donates a lot of food to the bank, so it’s always fun to identify Target products as we volunteer. These outings are such a great way to show our community that we’ve got their back.

Stay tuned for more local flavor from our stores teams as our summer road trip continues. And, if you’re planning your own trek, stop by your local Target store or Target.com for all your road trip must-haves.

Skyline and We Love Houston images courtesy of Jim Olive and Julie Soefer/Visit Houston. Beach images courtesy of Galveston Island Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

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