Feature Story Thursday March 29, 2012
Euphoric shoppers flood Winners store at Chilliwack Mall on opening day
Craig Hill/Voice photos
First customer Wyatt Teskey watches as acting mayor Chuck Stam (R) cuts the ribbon to open Winners in Chilliwack on Thursday. Councillor Sue Attrill (red) and store representatives look on from behind.
ong before dawn last Thursday, people lined-up for the grand opening of the new Winners store. Finally, Chilliwack Mall began to get the life injected back into it that it lost after a year-and-a-half hiatus when Walmart moved to Eagle Landing.
By 9 A.M., the queue outside had swelled to about 450-500 strong, stretching all the way down the entire north side facade.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Winners store reps presented Ann Davis transition Society Executive Director Bobbi Jacobs with a $5,000 donation.
Jacobs told The Voice the money will go toward support programs for girls and boys.
"Some of the things we do get no government funding at all so it's very helpful to us."
"A couple hundred women each year use the Transition House," she said, adding that they probably get about 600 women in crises at their offices on Young Road in Chilliwack and at the office in Hope during the same time period.
Acting Mayor Chuck Stam cut the ribbon next to Wyatt Teskey who was first in line.
The young Teskey took time off from school and just so he wouldn't get in trouble for playing hooky, he brought along his mom, sister and friend Gage Fedato and with a slogan like "if you ain't first, you're last", there's no way the young man was going to be trailing anyone into the store.
Wyatt Teskey (C) and his mom, sister and friend were looking for a good deal at Winners.
What's it take to be first in line?
"We got here at 5 A.M.," said Teskey, who wasn't sure what he wanted to buy. "We'll see what's in the store and decide from there."
The Teskey's have shopped Winners in Coquitlam where they lived prior to Chilliwack.
"We're hoping for gift cards," said Fedato laughing.
Staff and dignitaries stood in a semi circle applauding as shoppers streamed inside.
Store representatives get ready to hand out a basketful of Winners gift cards.
Chilliwack Mall Property manager Pamela Law told The Voice that she was "stoked" to see the parking lot full again after it's sat empty for the last year-and-a-half.
"We waited a long time for this. It's been a lot of hard work and we're very excited to see this great big crowd out here today."
"I think when Walmart let us know that they were leaving, everybody was very concerned about what would happen here."
Now, according to Law, the small independent business elements inside the mall are "very excited" to have some national representation with the major retailers as anchor tenants.
Law says Sport Check has some giveaways this week as well
"We're looking forward to exciting things because Reitmans is opening next week and then we've got Carter's Oshkosh at the end of the month, so there's some very exciting stores come here to Chilliwack Mall."
Calvin Klein jeans for $20
While the work was going on at Winners and the other stores, the mall's interior was being refitted with new flooring, ceilings, lighting and furniture.
"It's completely finished," said Law. "It's nice and bright in there now, it's not that dark dingy mall that it used to be. They've really stepped up to the plate and improved the centre from inside, outside and tenants."
Discombobulated shoppers can take solace that if today's showing at Winners is any indication, Chilliwack Mall has it's soul back.
See more photos below.
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