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Hecht's department store opens in Valley Mall

October 27, 1999

Hecht's openingBy BRENDAN KIRBY / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




HALFWAY - Hecht's, the high-end department store, opened its 120,000-square-foot location at Valley Mall Wednesday, taking Washington County retail to a new plateau.

cont. from front page

"Looking at it as a shopper, like my wife said, now we have a real mall," Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said after a ceremony opening the store. "It brings (retail) up an additional level. Now, people in this county travel out of the area to shop in this store in Frederick and other places."

The Hecht's store, which has more than a million items of inventory, is part of a $43 million expansion of the mall that includes a food court, 21 shops and a 16-screen movie theater. The mall will dedicate the new wing in a ceremony today.

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Although they would not divulge specific sales goals, Hecht's officials said they expect the new store to generate enthusiasm in the county.

"We expect this to be a terrific store for us," said Karen Greager, the company's regional vice president.

"It will be the talk of the town," added General Manager Sharon F. Andrushko.

Thomas B. Riford, marketing coordinator for the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said about 60 percent of the mall's shoppers come from outside Maryland.

"I would expect we would track in that same range," Greager said.

Hagerstown resident Nancy Snyder, who had her Hecht's credit card ready Wednesday morning, said she won't have to drive to Gaithersburg, Md., to shop at Hecht's anymore.

"I'm so glad they got one here finally," she said.

Robert and Chloe Hawbaker said they are excited about cutting their driving time from their Mercersburg, Pa., home to Hecht's from 45 minutes to 20 minutes.

"We used to go to Frederick all the time. Now we don't have to go that far," Robert Hawbaker said. "This is fantastic."

Amanda Stoner, a sales associate at the store, said she left a job at American Outfitters to work at Hecht's because of the opportunity for advancement within the company.

"It's been great so far. We had a really great time opening up the store," she said.

The store soon will be a TicketMaster outlet.

Hecht's will sponsor special events throughout the week to celebrate the opening, including a wardrobe workshop, cooking demonstrations, children's activities and makeovers.

A fall sale continues through Sunday and the store will be open later tonight and Friday.

Normal hours for the store are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Hecht's is the latest in a recent spate of new local retail establishments that includes Prime Outlets at Hagerstown and the soon-to-open Centre at Hagerstown.

But Greager said she is not worried about the competition.

"I think the growth in this market will support the growth of retail," she said.

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