Thursday morning’s rain and snow didn’t stop more than 300 people from across the state to line up at the entrance of the Warwick Mall’s latest addition, Nordstrom Rack, a store that provides customers with a selection of on-trend, of-season apparel for men, women and children from designer brands offered at Nordstrom stores and Nordstrom.com with most at savings of 30 to 70 percent off.
The store, which opened at 9 a.m., held a pre-opening celebration that began at 7. Friendly staff members served breakfast treats and coffee, while Chicago DJ John Grammatis of Ultra Music pumped music from speakers as customers excitedly waited.
In that time, those eager to shop checked the store’s Twitter account via @Warwick_Rack on their cell phones to get clues for golden hangers, which were redeemable that day for $100 worth of merchandise each.
Mother-daughter duo Robin and Ashley Deitrick of Narragansett were eager to get in the store for various products.
“I’m going to look for some winter boots since it’s snowing,” said Robin, while Ashley said, “Handbags are always a good item – and a golden hanger.”
Denise Duffy and Debra Brynes of Warwick were on the hunt for perfume. For Irina Kaykin of Newport, who spent the night before the opening at her parents’ home in Cranston to make it to the store on time, was interested in finding an evening gown for a Thanksgiving wedding, as well as winter shoes for 2-year-old son Adam.
“I’ve been waiting for this forever,” Kaykin said. The event marked her first time at a Nordstrom Rack location.
Also, customers filled out forms that qualified them for the “Race Through the Rack” sweepstakes, a 90-second $2,000 shopping spree. The winner’s name was announced at 8:30.
So who was the lucky shopper? Bernice Dengel of Warwick, who was aggressive and courteous as she frantically scooped items such as winter hats, gloves, coats, plus jeans and purses into a shopping cart.
“Sorry I’m making a mess,” Dengel said, making a mad dash through the store, stuffing as much apparel as possible in her shopping cart.
After the shopping spree, she waved to the crowd along with store manager Dan Neri, the overflowing cart by her side. In an interview, she expressed her emotions, saying that the spree was “incredible.”
“I can’t believe I won,” said Dengal. “I’m still shaking. Who thinks they are going to win?”
As part of the prize, she received a “Fast Pass,” which moved her to the head of the line at the fitting room. She was able to try on the merchandise she selected and swap it for appropriate sizes, if needed.
“You have time to give this some thought and pick out what you’d like,” said Bob Bailey, who pushed the cart for Dengal as she shopped. Bailey is the store manager at the Nordstrom’s full-line store in the Providence Place Mall.
But the fun didn’t end there. By 9 a.m., customers ran into the store in search of the golden hangers. Ashley and Amanda Taylor of West Warwick, two sisters, each found one, as did Michael Bresette of North Providence. While the women weren’t sure what they would purchase with their hangers, Bresette said he planned to use his to shop for Christmas gifts. He added, “I’m excited that this store is open.”
His grandmother, Charlotte Lanni of Johnston, also found a golden hanger.
“I feel good to tell you the truth,” she said. “I never win anything.”
Her granddaughter May Lanni, also of Johnston, said she was certain her grandmother would use the hanger to buy gifts for loved ones.
“She’s got grandchildren, a daughter and a son-in-law in France, so it will really help her out,” Lanni said.
Maddie Hickey, 13, a seventh grader at Aldrich Junior High School, was probably one of the youngest shoppers. She was with her older brother, Aaron, who allowed her to take the morning off from school to attend the event because she aspires to be a fashion designer. Maddie said she enjoys dressing her 3-year-old niece, Alyvia Rose Lyn Walsh, and hopes to design infant clothes someday.
“This is a pretty big event, especially for a young girl interested in fashion,” Aaron said. “When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a pilot and my dad took me out of school to see the Concord when it landed.”
Taking the morning off school was worth it, since Maddie found a golden hanger. Clothes were at the top of her shopping list.
“I’m going to buy stuff that I can wear to school,” she said.
Nordstrom Rack is located at the Target end of the Warwick Mall at 400 Bald Hill Road. Regular store hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.