Crowds lined up in Woodland Mall for a special treat on Halloween as H&M opened its first West Michigan store here in Grand Rapids.
A live DJ playing the latest hits and the promise of a chance to win $300 worth of shopping was enough to keep the crowds coming. Customers who were first in line before doors opened and first in line for checkout were given coupons for discounts and freebies such as T-shirts and gloves.
The store, which spans a total of 19,000 square feet, is divided into different sections that each cater to a specific group of people.
The store sells clothing and accessories for men, women, teenagers, children and expectant mothers.
H&M is short for Hennes & Mauritz, a Sweden based clothing company that started in 1947. It is best known for its affordable European style clothing. The store has a total of 3,000 stores in 53 markets worldwide. The Grand Rapids store will be H&M’s seventh store in Michigan according to its website.
According to a 2012 Forbes report, H&M is the world’s second largest clothing retailer behind Spanish clothing retailer Zara.
For many Calvin students who awaited H&M’s Grand Rapids branch, the new store is welcomed.
“I was very excited for the opening because H&M has been one of my staple stores to visit whenever I am in another city,” said 2013 alumna Taylor Vanderveen. “I love that I will be able to shop at H&M in GR now, even though it makes it a little bit less special to go to another city.”
Senior Esther Hui also expressed enthusiasm for H&M’s arrival in Grand Rapids.
“I was super excited for H&M to open in Grand Rapids because I have always lived in cities that had a store,” she said. “It was really weird for me to live in Grand Rapids for the last three years without an H&M near by.”
She wondered why the retailer took so long to reach Grand Rapids.
“I am very surprised it took so long to get here,” Hui said. “But I am glad to have a piece of home here now.”
While some students expressed excitement at the new store, some were not as excited.
“I don’t think I will shop at H&M anymore because it is so close now,” senior Sam Lee said. “I feel like everyone will be wearing the same thing.”
Due to company policy, store employees in Grand Rapids were unable to comment to press in regards to this article.