SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - New employees of clothing retailer H&M cut the ribbon Thursday, marking the opening of the newest store at the University Mall in South Burlington.
“My daughter shops online. We're really excited for the store to open,” said Norma Jodoin, who traveled from Milton to get in line 45 minutes before H&M opened.
The 22,000 square-foot store took over half the University Mall’s food court plus space previously used by four tenants.
The internationally-recognized chain, known for its trendy and chic fashion, will employ about 20 people in Vermont.
Young shoppers are excited for the new options.
"I was, like, so happy not seeing a store full of flannels and Birkenstocks. Finally, something that's kind of like young and hip but not like hipstery,” said Eloho Obaro-Best, a University of Vermont student.
"We knew that we needed to be here. We always look for the best location, the best customer mix and we felt like the timing was right,” said Patrick Shaner, an H&M spokesperson.
H&M also brought its sustainability program to South Burlington.
“We have a giant garment collecting box. We take in garments. Every day you can bring them into H&M and get a 15% discount,” said Shaner.
Thursday’s grand opening comes ten days before another major retail chain officially opens just feet away.
Target’s grand opening is scheduled for October 21st, with a soft opening set for October 17th.
Two years ago, the longtime owners of University Mall, the Finard family, moved the property into foreclosure.
It is now controlled by bond holders and operated by a separate management company.
"We're hoping [the new stores] will increase traffic flow, will pull new customers from further away to draw in people and hopefully do some cross shopping, across all our other stores to increase the shopping experience for them and for our other tenants too,” said LuAnn Clark, the mall’s tenant coordinator.
"There was nothing interesting here before so now I'm probably going to come to the mall,” said Angelica Torres, a UVM student.
When Target held a job fair in August, it was looking to hire 150 people.
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