What resembled a dance party was actually the opening Thursday of the newest clothing store at East Towne Mall.
More than 330 people hoping to nab free gift cards for up to $300 were in line near the center of the mall when the 21,600-square-foot H&M store opened at noon. The scene had the feel of a night club as just prior to the opening employees danced in the mall just outside the store's entrance as Greg Morrow, aka DJ Midas EFX, cranked out loud, bass-filled music.
After the opening, the crowd swarmed the store in search of skinny ankle jeans, ruffled blouses, men's textured sweaters and $5 t-shirts.
"For H&M this is typical but for East Towne it's not our typical store opening. It's very exciting for us," said Tammy Rozek, East Towne's general manager. "This is huge for the mall. H&M is a great retailer."
The store, with about 20 employees, is across from Victoria's Secret and next door to Rogers & Hollands jewelry and caters to teens and 20-somethings. The store is slightly bigger than the 18,300-square-foot store at West Towne that opened in 2006 and joins three others in Wisconsin, all in the Milwaukee area -- at Bayshore Towne Center in Glendale, Southridge in Milwaukee and Brookfield Square.
The addition to East Towne comes as the a multi-million-dollar renovation of the mall's interiors is nearing completion. The project, which began last spring, includes new flooring, lighting, soft seating areas, color schemes and new furniture in the food court.
Later this month, the doors will open on Lulu's 13 Pub in the food court. The 6,707 square-foot restaurant from a Minnesota company was originally proposed as Lucky's 13 Pub but the name has been changed. It was not immediately known if the name change was to avoid confusion with Lucky's 1313 Brew Pub on Regent Street.
Work is also continuing on the construction of a Flix Brewhouse on the back side of the mall near Dick's Sporting Goods. The 39,000-square-foot facility will include nine movie theaters and a 134-seat restaurant. The facility, which will be built where Steinhafel's had been located, was initially scheduled to open this fall, but the opening has been pushed back to July, said Tiffany Schultz, the mall's marketing director.
Steinhafel's moved to remodeled space in the former American TV location, 5215 High Crossing Blvd.