By Nadine Kam
T.J. Maxx photo
Opening morning at T.J. Maxx's Ward Village store.
T.J. Maxx must have seen a vacuum in the designer-for-less niche in Hawaii, wasting no time in opening three stores in three weeks here. The Oahu stores are Nos. 1,001, 1,002 and 1,003.
The first opened last Thursday at Ward Villages and tomorrow's opening will be at the Pearl City Gateway, 1120 Kuala St., and you can expect more of the same: lines outside and in for the registers. Festivities will start at 7:30 a.m. with a traditional Hawaiian blessing and a donation check presentation to Hawaii Literacy. They'll also be giving out 1,000 T.J. Maxx tote/shopping bags to the first who enter the store.
Last week, I noticed a few of those totebags hanging on the racks when their owners simply left, unwilling to brave the lines to the register that wound around the store's interior, with 45-minute waits all day long. I know, because I was there in the morning and back for more punishment after work.
When I was in the store for a sneak peek last Tuesday, I noted a couple of things I wanted to pick up for my trip to Maui that weekend, two dresses and a top. Got the striped summer dress and white summer top, but the Opening Ceremony denim dress I wanted was gone. Damn! I really thought no one except me would want those.
Scored a designer bag though when one woman, who had grabbed a handful, slowly started sorting through them while in line and started dumping them on to other racks. Thirty percent off luxury designers still isn't cheap, so that should keep resellers at bay and get things into the hands of people who actually want and will use these items.
As I wrote in my print story last Thursday, T.J.Maxx offers the same in-season merchandise as department and specialty stores, at 20 to 60 percent less. It's a treasure hunt for the brands you love, however, because items are carried in limited quantities and the great items go quickly. The Ward store is stocked with a lot of lightweight summer and active wear for men, women and children. And right now, there's nothing dressy for men.
The Pearlridge store will open next Thursday, and each store will receive 10,000 new items weekly, which is about three to four truckloads of clothes, so it looks like you'll have to return frequently for the best deals.
If you happen to find something great and are in sharing mode, you can upload to Maxx Finds at http://www.tjmaxx.com/maxx-finds/submit-your-find/
At a media lunch at Buca di Beppo in advance of last week's opening, stylist Alison Deyette had some of her fashion picks on display and presented a handful of looks, like this Helmut Lang jacket, on Courtney Coleman, that could be dressed up or down.
A "Maxxinista's" evening dress, and at right, a beach coverup that could do double duty as an evening dress with the right underpinnings.
Nahoku Keala in a sportier look, with summer's hot pink accessorizing.
The calm before the storm last Tuesday. I knew it was a bad sign when I arrived on opening day at Ward last Thursday, and saw people leaving empty handed. That meant the lines to the register were long.
The line as I saw it. Worth the wait for: