How successful was the grand opening for Marshalls, the new department store at the fairgrounds shopping center? Well, let’s see.
More than 500 people were on hand at 7:30 a.m. for the ribbon-cutting, when ribbon-cuttings usually attract 20 or 30, along with those who are cutting the ribbon.
More were arriving on foot and in cars as the high school bands played and as speeches were made.
Lines of hundreds stretched around the building, which occupies a prime spot on the north end of the shopping center, across from the fairgrounds main entrance.
More than 300 cars and pickups were in the parking lot, with more arriving, driving around, looking for parking places. Not since the fair’s opening day had so many cars been in that lot.
At 9:30 a.m., after the store had been open about an hour and a half, the store was full of shoppers. Some 200 people roamed the aisles, looking at merchandise and grabbing what they liked to add to their hauls. Baby stroller traffic jams had to be unsnarled. About 150 shoppers stood good-naturedly in a checkout line that stretched from the front of the store all the way around the rear wall, and back to the front, where seven checkers were hard at work.
“I’ve been waiting an hour and a half,” said one lady. “But I don’t mind. I’m seeing more things I want to buy.” Meanwhile, dozens of
friendly store employees worked swiftly to restock merchandise, straighten clothes on racks and ask shoppers if they needed any help.
Outside, a clown entertained about 40 children and their parents. A disk jockey played music.
Next door, the rue21 store, which specializes in clothing for young people, had 22 people in its checkout line and dozens more shopping.
What can a person say, but “Wow!”