Linda Wagner doesn’t mess around when it comes to a good sale.
The Kalispell resident rose at 3:50 a.m. Wednesday morning in preparation for the reopening of Herberger’s department store at the Kalispell Center Mall.
And her efforts paid off — Wagner was first in line.
“It’s my favorite store and I love the quality of their products and the deals,” she said. “I’m a single mom and so I always want to get nice things for my kids and I’ve always been able to come here and do that.”
Wagner was one of more than 50 who lined up outside the newly expanded store well before 8 a.m. for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and a chance to snap up new inventory at discount prices.
Herberger’s celebrated a 40,000-square-foot addition and a revamped interior including wider aisles, fresh decor and new offerings. Store manager Gary Evans said the Kalispell outlet now carries fine jewelry, men’s big and tall clothing and has greatly expanded their women’s shoe department. New lines include Bass for women, Weatherproof for men and UGG boots.
“We made the decision a couple years ago based on sales performance and based on inventory size,” Evans said of the expansion. “We’ve always needed more space since the store was built, they felt it was undersized at that time.”
Herberger’s opened its doors in Kalispell 31 years ago. The shop’s first manager, Bill Leingang, recalled the early days of the department store.
“We were a much smaller company,” Leingang said. “When I came here it was dirt floors and no ceiling. …I used to have people come in wondering, where’s the hamburgers? … they had no idea what Herberger’s was. This has really come a long way. The store is gorgeous.”
Herberger’s expansion is one of the first “dominoes to fall” in the revitalization of Kalispell’s downtown area, Kalispell Mayor Mark Johnson said.
“I am proud of Herberger’s. I am proud of the investment they have made in our community and the faith that they have in you, our citizens and their future customers,” Johnson told the crowd. “At a future point in time, we plan to see these railroad tracks to the north of us disappear and a walking path go in and more development in this area. Herberger’s is the first to lead us off in that, and for that you forever have my gratitude and I will never forget this.”
Wednesday’s event marked the beginning of a week-long celebration of the store’s reopening.
Through Tuesday, Sept. 19, Herberger’s will hold in-store demonstrations of select home goods and cosmetics, performances by DJs and local artists Steve Eckels and Dan Dubuque.
The store also kicked off its annual Goodwill sale. Customers who donate clothing, handbags, shoes and other goods can receive coupons for up to 30 percent off the purchase of apparel, shoes, accessories and up to 15 percent off cosmetics and fragrances.
For a complete schedule of reopening events, visit www.herbergers.com/kalispell.
Reporter Mackenzie Reiss may be reached at 758-4433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.