Thunderous music, an animated crowd, and the unforgiving heat of the sun defined Thursday morning at H&M’s Tanasbourne store front. The global fashion giant unveiled their brand new Tanasbourne store, in true H&M style, with freebies, discounts, and Wild 107.5 pumping up the crowd. Over 600 customers were lined up outside of the entrance in anticipation of its noon opening. It was like a sunnier (and sweatier) version of the ball dropping on New Year’s. “…3! …2! …1!” customers shouted as they counted down the final seconds before the unveiling. Who knew fashion and affordability could create such a thrill.
Finally, the long-anticipated shopping began as hundreds of customers flooded the massive store, instantly creating a check-out line that looped through nearly every department. Anyone accustomed to the usual quick service of H&M was in for a considerable surprise, as guests waited in line for over an hour. The wait was endurable, though, as the new store’s spacious and simplistic layout avoided overcrowding and allowed customers to enjoy the retailer’s signature edgy displays.
As was expected, each department was laced with mannequins sporting eye-catching looks for every gender and age. Perhaps the most adorable, however, were the wannabe teeny-bopper toddler looks in the kids’ department. Um, a “Gangnam Style” fitted cap and leather vest for three year olds? Yes please! The adult departments were fairly tempting, as well, with trendy separates, statement accessories, and a beauty wall that sparkled like the fourth of July. All of these ingredients formed the irresistible fashion concoction that has proven so addictive to their Northwest market.
With three previous Oregon locations, H&M has become a household name for the Pacific Northwest fashionista. Their on-trend fashions, product quality, and bargain prices are difficult to compete with, explaining why H&M’s been quickly rising above top competitors with their aggressive growth plan. With their goal to increase their number of stores by 10-15% annually, consumers can expect many more electrifying store openings in the near future.
Perhaps the only disappointing element of the event was H&M’s low employee morale. Across their locations, H&M has made a point to encourage team spirit and fun attitudes, but that lacked translation to their Tanasbourne employees. Thursday’s morning shift seemed overheated and overwhelmed. While customers were still lined up out front, a “cheer team” came out to excite the overheated crowd, only to complain about heat exhaustion themselves (from what? 5 seconds of exposure?) with remarks like, “Ugh, this heat is awful. I don’t even want to be here anymore.” Thanks for the reminder, but we already knew it was hot. Credit is due, however, to a select few employees who diligently ran through the heat with a smile on their face and pep in their step. Later on, the cheer squad at the front entrance seemed more promising, with employees lining either side of the doors, welcoming customers and high-fiving kids. They offered a glimpse of hope toward the H&M’s usual spirited environment, but attitudes quickly shifted again once the check-out line started to wrap around the departments. Hopefully, this was a result of the rare concoction of sweltering heat and 600+ customers, and not a sign of what to expect from the Tanasbourne team members.
Employee exhaustion aside, the event was tough to beat with and a high point of the Oregon fashion set’s week. Knowing H&M, the excitement will continue and their Tanasbourne store is sure to become a favored retailer in the streets.
Looking to score deals of your own? Visit the new H&M Tanasbourne location:
NW Emma Way, Hillsboro, Oregon 97214
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