Fashionistas took over Bayshore Shopping Centre Wednesday for a VIP event celebrating H&M’s long-awaited opening in the nation’s capital.
Complete with velvet ropes, red carpet, and photographers, heads were turning in the mall as shoppers wondered where music was coming from and what was shaking in the old Zellers location.
“We had to wait in line to show up, which I thought was great. You know, it really puts on a show,” said Marcy Galipeau of Centretown, adding it was really only “five minutes, but that’s a long time in line.”
Along with downtown resident Jessica Wilson, the pair scored an invite through a friend.
Even with advance shopping privileges, it was difficult to focus on merchandise, at times.
“They keep coming around with food and champagne and it just creates kind of a fun party atmosphere, and just a really fun Tuesday night,” said Wilson.
Even sports honcho Jeff Hunt was getting his shop on — although he was finished within a half hour — sitting along a strip of modern white leather couches while family members perused. He said he’d be waiting awhile.
South-end resident Claudia Luc, 17, and Lily Kendrick, 18, of Westboro were excited to ring in the arrival of a store geared to their age group.
Luc has been waiting for H&M “since I was, like, 14,” she said.
Kendrick said the reasonable prices draw her in.
The Swedish retail giant, selling women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories in its 22,000-sq.-ft. store, opens in the capital at noon Thursday.
Public relations manager Emily Scarlett is hoping others, too, will flock.
“Ottawa has been on our wishlist for 9 1/2 years,” said Scarlett.
Bayshore will be the only location “for now,” she said.
It’s creating about 80 jobs.
The first 500 people in line will receive gift cards, tote bags and other swag.
Popular stores such as Zara, Victoria’s Secret, and Browns are also opening at Bayshore, part of its $200-million 160,000-sq.-ft. expansion, estimated to create at least 400 jobs.
It’s slated for completion in 2015.