Scenes from H&M's opening at International Plaza
We knew the local fashion scene was going to go a little nutty over the opening of H&M at International Plaza. It's not like we've been waiting for years for the store's infamous hot designs and cheap prices to come to Tampa or anything.
But crowds stretching all the way to the parking lot? As many as 1,000 lined up before the doors opened? This block party got a little out of control. Guest Deal Diva Nicole Zakrzewski was on the scene to tell us all about it!
Sure, the opening of H&M in Tampa was exciting. But the free shirts and gift cards are what caused shoppers to skip work and school for a good deal. The first shoppers in line arrived as early as eleven Wednesday night. Cicely Jeter got in line at 4:45 a.m. and later teamed up with Markus Aurelio.
“It’s like black ops, where getting in line is a battle. We’ve been texting all morning to establish our strategies,” commented Aurelio.
The first hundred people in line were armed with lawn chairs and coffee in oversized Thermoses, training for Black Friday’s festivities.
A DJ and a street team of about forty employees helped to keep energy levels high, along with the free 5 Hour Energys. Every ten minutes a wave of cheers would roll through the crowd, as if there were a roller coaster on the lower level.
Someone commented, “I thought we were in a recession.” True enough. H&M’s prices are exactly what has built up its clientele. Opening offers included a bandage skirt for as low as $10, and a ruched tank for $5.
“The first time that I went to H&M was in New York and I fell so in love with it that I went to all seven locations in NYC. What’s great about it is the quality and prices, even if you spend $200, you get so much for your money,” Jeter said.
I would prefer camping out for the release of Versace for H&M next Saturday. But if Thursday's crowds were any indication, it might be worth trying to buy the collection online.
(Photo: Times staff photographer Edmund Fountain)