Fab ones, it doesn’t get much “hauter” than H&M’s grand opening yesterday at Huntsville’s Bridge Street Town Centre. When I arrived at the store at 10:15 AM – nestled between Pinz Eat/Drink/Bowl and Chico’s – a line of patient shoppers trailed outside the store’s glass doors. First in line were Devin Luckie, of Madison (a rising senior at Sparkman High School), Katie Azzam and Chandler Waite, on summer break from school in Auburn and Vienna, Austria respectively. Having come Wednesday at 11 PM only to be turned away by security, they returned at 7 AM Thursday and met with success. Their plan of attack once the doors opened? To purchase an accessory to reveal their free gift, then to shop normally. The lucky trio lounged on lawn chairs while a nearby dj pumped hits into the open courtyard to help keep the crowd amped.
“We feel the South is an important market, and it comes down to finding the right location. We don’t have any plans we can announce, but this location is a focus. It’s entirely possible,” Dawn said. (And really, the drive is not that bad. Pleasant surroundings and a lack of traffic made the excursion worth the drive.) For those of you who are looking to shop via the interweb, Dawn mentioned online shopping will launch this fall.
As we made our way around the store, Dawn pointed out that there is something for everyone: whether you are male or female, a trendsetter or classic sophisticate, a woman with curves, an expectant mommy or a style-savvy kid, ‘tween or teen, H&M has something for you.
“We want you to dress your whole family here; you can wear H&M from childhood through adulthood,” Dawn said. Well-made accessories – including coordinating jewelry, eyewear, handbag, shoes, hats and scarves – for both sexes and all ages will complete a look. “We have 140 designers who design specifically for us,” Dawn revealed. “You really won’t find knockoffs of other designers here. We do everything in-house, which allows us to offer everything at a great price.”
And what prices! From denim starting at $9.95 to “Opening Offer” pieces marked down to $7 plus mix and match swimwear starting at $4.95, the pricing was unbelievable.
As we completed the tour, the crowd outside was showing off “moves like Jagger” and began an impromptu Cupid Shuffle. As the minutes wound down to the noon ribbon-cutting, I got to talk to Cantrice, a member of the H&M Crew who helped set up the store, who has worked with the company 9 years. What makes H&M special to her?
“I have a home store [in Baltimore], but I have the pleasure of going to store openings. H&M puts a lot into developing their employees. And they’re fashion-forward. I shopped at the H&M in NYC when it first opened in the US, and I still wear those clothes. They wash well, they wear well and most of H&M’s pieces are timeless,” she said.
The H&M crew lined the store’s main floor, and then the “running of the shoppers” commenced. What began as a dull roar and a frenzy of organized chaos eventually quieted to a jumble of steadily moving teens, young professionals, college students, employees shopping on their lunch breaks, and new moms several hours later. A few were heard at the store’s entry making hurried calls home for more capital, and others braved the long lines for the dressing rooms and cash registers.
I made it out alive at 3:30, with a chic caftan ($34.95) for my mom and a color-blocked clutch ($17.95) and pair of earrings ($7.95) for myself.
“We’ll be back tomorrow,” Devin promised.
Stay tuned for more photos!!!
And if you were a giveaway winner, please check your email!