H&M, other stores debut at Oakland Mall

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 15, 2015

 Santa leaves center court at  Oakland Mall to check out the goods at H&M during the grand opening.

Santa leaves center court at Oakland Mall to check out the goods at H&M during the grand opening.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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Christina Grace, 22 of Macomb Township, was first in line at the H&M store grand opening at Oakland Mall Dec. 11.

She and her sister Aubrianna Grace, 19, arrived at the mall just before 7 a.m. to wait in line. She said her first stop would be the children’s department to buy an outfit for her 6-month-old son, Christopher Sedgeman.

The first 200 shoppers received an H&M T-shirt and scratch-off coupons valued at between $10 and $300.

“He’s stylish,” Christina Grace said of her son. “Everyone’s going to get H&M stuff for Christmas.”

Her mother, Tina Grace, also arrived with her daughters when the doors opened and pushed her sleeping grandson around the mall in his stroller. All three women work at kiosks that Tina Grace operates at the mall, one for cellphones and one with personalized Christmas ornaments.

They also brought clothing to recycle for a chance to win gift cards worth $50-$250 and a voucher for 15 percent off their next purchase.

Ryeon Clark, 23, from St. Louis, was third in line. He was visiting friends in Troy, and his girlfriend works at H&M. He planned to purchase hoodies.

“I really like the hoodies. They are nice quality,” he said.

H&M, or Hennes & Mauritz, which offers “fashion-forward apparel and quality basics,” according to a release, opened its doors at noon Dec. 11.

H&M was established in Sweden in 1947, and operates 407 stores in the U.S. and 3,700 stores worldwide. The store offers clothing for women, men, young women, young men, and children from newborns to age 14, as well as maternity and plus-size clothing.

When asked why H&M chose to open a store at Oakland Mall, H&M spokesman Patrick Shaner said via email that “H&M always looks to find the best location in an area where there is a strong customer base. Michigan is an important market to the brand, and we plan to continue strategic expansion within the state.”

“It’s a wonderful addition,” said Shelly Darmetko, senior marketing manager for Oakland Mall.   She noted that a number of new stores have opened at Oakland Mall in recent months, including Field & Stream, Windsor Fashions, Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Limited Outlet.

“They’ve been doing great,” she said.

Darmetko said that a number of stores have been remodeled, including Lane Bryant, Perfumania and Finish Line.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “There’s a lot of changes at the shopping center.”

Kiosks offer a range of choices — “ugly” sweaters, embroidered T-shirts and hats, personalized Christmas ornaments, specialty cupcakes and roasted almonds.

There is a kiddie train, the Oakland Mall Express, and Santa is in the center court. Darmetko said that if shoppers spend $150 in the mall in one day, they can take their receipts to the information center near JCPenney and get a $20 gift card.

“Business has been great,” she said, adding that a lot of stores are offering discounts and sales earlier in the shopping season than they have in the past. “They’re offering after-Christmas deals before Christmas.”

The mall is currently operating with extended hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. The mall will be open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

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