An eye-popping 1,100 people flocked to the grand opening of Fresno’s first H&M clothing store. Getting an H&M store here — in the former Borders space in River Park — is a huge deal to a lot of people, particularly shoppers in their teens and 20s. You can see a video of the opening frenzy below. But here’s what you need to know about the store with one of the craziest openings I’ve ever covered.
What’s the clothing like? The store carries men’s and women’s clothing, including a large selection of menswear such as dress shirts and shorts. It carries women’s plus sizes from 14 to 22, but only had one large rack devoted to it Thursday. The “H&M Mama” (maternity) section was bigger. The kid’s section is sizeable and the store also sells accessories, lingerie and fitness clothing.
Shoppers described the styles as similar to Forever 21 and Love Culture (both in Fashion Fair mall), but more appropriate for work. The styles definitely skew young. Some said H&M clothes were less expensive than Forever 21 and higher quality. Prices ranged from $7 maxi dresses to $29.95 orange-and-white striped men’s dress shirts.
Why the big deal? This is the only H&M store between Modesto and Santa Barbara. Shoppers have been seeking out H&M in other cities when traveling out of town for years. The retailer is the epitome of “fast fashion” which means getting cutting-edge runway looks onto store racks quickly.
But isn’t Fresno just in love with chain stores? Perhaps. But there’s more going on here that’s inspiring 1,100 people to line up beginning at 6 a.m. First, grand openings are just silly fun when you’re 19. There’s a DJ, and H&M employees danced and rapped. Shoppers spent the rest of the time hanging out with friends.
Several people in line said the opening-day deals were a big draw. The first 100 people in line got gift cards worth between $10 and $300. Shoppers who brought a bag of clothing to donate to the store’s recycling program got 15% off their entire purchase.
As 19-year-old Katelynn Lewallen — who slept in her car to be the first in line — says, “That’s what makes it worth it when you’re young and don’t have a job.”