Excited shoppers stood in line, some for over four hours, waiting for the newest store at Southridge Mall in Greendale to open today.
The grand opening event at the new H&M store attracted hundreds of local residents, lured by the promise of gift card giveaways and in-store specials. By the time the ribbon-cutting took place at noon, the line of shoppers waiting to get into the store stretched all the way from the H&M entrance to the south end of the mall.
Kristin Eul, Katie Gerls and Andy Krachtt - all students from Greendale High School - were the first in line. Local schools were closed today and tomorrow for a teachers' convention, so the three friends said they arrived at the mall at 7:45 am, before the mall itself opened. At 8:00 they were let in and took their place at the front of the cordoned-off line by H&M's entrance.
Their patience paid off, as each of the teens received a free gift card ranging from $25 to $200 that were handed out by H&M associates.
Eul said, "We are crazy shoppers, we shop all the time, so we are really excited to be here."
Gerls added their shopping strategy would be to go in and 'grab everything' and then try it on.
All three said they have shopped at H&M stores at Brookfield Square and Bayshore malls, so they were familiar with the chain and are excited to finally have one on this side of town.
Julie McFaul and her daughter, Kristie, of Greendale were also there to check out the new store. They said they too have driven to other local malls to shop at H&M.
Kristie McFaul has been going to college in Minnesota for the past four years where she shopped at H&M on a regular basis. She says, "I've been dying for an H&M store to come to Southridge."
The mother-daughter duo planned to shop for a specific sweater the younger McFaul had her eye on in the store window and some new winter accessories.
The party-like atmosphere continued on the men's side of the store where friends Edwin Vasquez and Efren Manzaret of Milwaukee were checking out the merchandise. Manzaret was looking for something new to wear to a wedding he planned to attend this weekend.
The friends both agreed the store was really nice and big and would be a good addition to Southridge.
Betty Strand of New Berlin heard about the grand opening and decided to stop by with her husband, Ray, to look for a new sweater and a coat for him. Strand says she was impressed by the reasonable prices on most of the items they saw in the store.
H&M is known for its fashion-forward, internationally influenced trend pieces and updated basics. The Southridge store offers collections for ladies, men, young ladies and men, accessories and a full children’s department starting at newborn up to kids age 14. Additionally, the store will feature maternity wear for expectant mothers.