Monday, June 16, 2014

H&M opening in Mall at University Town Center could be worth dancing for

H&M employees hype the crowd at the grand opening of H&M, Thursday at

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When thinking about the opening day of the Mall at University Town Center, scenarios of people rushing the doors and honking car horns fill my head along with the pomp and circumstance of the ribbon cutting.

And while the mall will have opening festivities, I haven't given any thought about whether any individual stores will have their own grand opening party.

Then I saw this video below from our sister publication The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald of an H&M grand opening. H&M will be one of the 100-plus stores coming to the Mall at UTC, and will be on both levels of the mall.

Check out how the Swedish clothing store pumps up its shoppers at the Bellis Fair Mall when it opened Thursday:

That's quite a crowd for one new store in a 26-year-old mall. It's fun to see how a store with such a following can get people energized to empty empty their wallets while some stores open without a mob.

The Mall at UTC have a grand opening celebration in the works  for Oct. 16  while tickets are being sold for an Oct. 15 exclusive preview. I've reached out to Kim Dominguez, who is the mall's newly hired marketing director to find out whether stores will be allowed to have their own opening party or if everything is going to be rolled into one big party. When she responds I'll add the details here later.

The Bellingham Herald detailed how dedicated people were for showing up:
Claudia Braam, 19, showed up at 4 a.m. and was the first of 400 people in the store when doors opened at noon Thursday, June 12. The first 100 shoppers in line got scratch gift cards worth $10 to $300. Braam's reward: $300.
Braam, who lives in Bellingham, said she loves all the high-quality clothes and cheap prices but was most excited for the summer dresses.

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I clicked through the Bellingham Herald's photogallery to see the crowd and the reality of 400 people showing up for a single store sunk in. The Mall at UTC will have more than 100 stores, big and small. Some shoppers will be drawn to the excitement of the mall while others will come just for the special deals. To me, the opening is going to be like Black Friday on crack with people nudging their way past one another for something on the shelf.

Let's estimate -- based on the anticipation for the mall and the 400 people who showed up for H&M opening --  the Mall at UTC could have 30,000 people show up the first day for the 100 stores and restaurants.

Car traffic is one thing to be worried about, sure, even though trolleys are planned for the shopping centers. But all the bodies inside that mall?

I'm not sure if there will be room to dance in front of H&M.


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