Judging by the line that extended to the end of the shopping center, the newly-renamed Fort Howard Square, on a frigid morning, shoppers couldn’t wait for the ribbon cutting at Goody’s on Friday.
The Knoxville, Tenn.-based clothing store opened and was quickly inundated with shoppers taking part in the 60 percent off sale chainwide. Two minutes after the doors opened to the public, between 450 and 500 people had entered the store
“It’s an excellent turnout,” said store manager Gloria Krebs. “We did anticipate a big turnout. We are not at all disappointed by the support from the community and the Chamber (of Commerce). We are thrilled with what we have seen.”
The store, which is 24,000 square feet, has 75 employees, and about 95 percent of them are from Effingham County, Krebs said.
“We love to hire hometown folks,” she said.
Goody’s began hiring for the Rincon store on Oct. 5 and that lasted for three weeks. Employees and managers got into the store on Oct. 23 to begin getting ready for Friday’s grand opening.
“We did that in three and a half weeks, from barebones to this,” Krebs said. “The finished product came out better than we expected.”
“This has been a remarkable 19 days,” said district manager Debbie Carpenter, who praised the efforts of
the staff in working to get the store ready for the crowds. “This is going to be the best grand opening ever.”
The results also delighted regional vice president Ray Santa Elena, who also has worked for Sears, Kmart and Best Buy.
“I’ve opened up three stores, and this is by far the best I’ve seen,” he said. “This is the most impressive opening I’ve been to.”
The franchise has grown from one store in Athens, Tenn., to more than 390 stores with $1.5 billion in sales. It also now features designer lines, including Ashley Judd’s personal line, and name brand clothes.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of Effingham County and Rincon and a community that’s growing,” said district manager Robert Garrick.