Lines, a DJ and deals: H&M opens to fanfare in Colorado Springs

By Ned Hunter Updated: October 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm • Published: October 24, 2013 0
photo - Store staff and shoppers of the new H&M store were dancing and cheering at Chapel Hills Mall. The trendy Swedish-based clothing store had nearly 400 people waiting in line at the opening on Thursday, October 24, 2013. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Store staff and shoppers of the new H&M store were dancing and cheering at Chapel Hills Mall. The trendy Swedish-based clothing store had nearly 400 people waiting in line at the opening on Thursday, October 24, 2013. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)

Tyler Abrahamson got in line for the opening of H&M’s new clothing store in the Chapel Hills Mall at 4 a.m. Thursday.

He was late by more than four hours.

Sam Hampton had arrived before midnight Wednesday.

The two men led the line of about 400 energetic shoppers, most under the age of 30, that snaked from H&M’s front door, down a hall, around a stairwell and back along the opposite side of the hallway.

“This is crazy,” said one of several security guards hired to handle the crowd.

A Swedish clothing retailer, H&M — short for Hennes & Mauritz — “designs cheap, yet chic clothing” and a line of cosmetics, primarily for people 18- to 45-years-old, according to business publication Dun & Bradstreet. It also has a line for children and plus-sizes.

“This is one of my favorite stores,” Abrahamson said. “In my opinion, it has high-quality clothes, and it collaborates with world-famous designers.”

The popular retailer has been expanding in Colorado this year, opening stores in Boulder and Lakewood earlier this month, with another set to open in Castle Rock next month. The Colorado Springs store brings the number of H&M locations in the U.S. to 293; there will be eight in Colorado by year’s end.

The company opened its 22,000-square-foot Chapel Hills store at noon Thursday, a festive vibe provided by a DJ who played hip hop and top-40s tunes, employees with purple hair lined with white Daisies, and an enthusiastic crowd looking for clothing bargains.

It took less than 15 minutes to get all the shoppers inside once H&M opened its doors. It took less time than that for lines of shoppers 20 to 30 deep to queue up in front of fitting rooms. The store offered several opening-day specials, such as a buy-one, get-one free offer on sweaters, and gift cards of varying values to the first 100 people.

“Oh my God,” squealed one teen, as she held up a sheer, white sweater.

“Oh, it’s perfect for you,” her friend squealed back.

Things were a little more subdued in H&M’s men’s section, yet no less exciting.

Tennis teacher Tim Treat, 42, examined T-shirts Thursday with two of his students. Treat said H&M’s clothing is fashionable and trendy, presenting a style that is neither staunch nor starched.

“I come here because I try not to wear what others are wearing,” he said. “They are hitting the hip crowd.”

Hampton, 48, was not only the first in line Thursday, he was H&M’s big money winner, grabbing a $300 gift card in a giveaway. When doors opened, he headed straight for the men’s section.

“I need a winter coat bad,” said Hampton, who worked 10 years for Marshall Field’s in Chicago, “and these clothes here are the bomb.”

Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275.

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