T.J. Maxx opens

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, March 24, 2011

T.J. Maxx customer James Cameron fills out paperwork at the counter as employees Robin Campbell, left, and Lisa Stevens bag his purchases and total up his bill during the first hour after the new store opened in North Suffolk on Thursday morning.

Under threatening gray skies early Thursday morning, nearly 100 people lined up outside the doors of the new T.J. Maxx department store in North Suffolk, waiting for store and city officials to cut the ribbon and officially open the low-price outlet.

With a snip of the city’s official, ceremonial red ribbon, the doors opened, and the crowd began to stream inside, accepting free white-and-red shopping bags from the store greeters they passed and then heading straight for their favorite merchandise.

Within 30 minutes of the 8 a.m. grand opening, there was a line of shoppers with carts full of clothing, specialty foods and home decorative articles waiting to be checked out.

Email newsletter signup

“Everybody loves T.J. Maxx,” store manager Patrick Corwin said as he greeted city officials and shoppers at the front door. “We’re excited to be a part of Suffolk.”

Corwin, who for the past 12 years has lived in Suffolk near the new Harbour View shopping center store, was one of several local and regional managers on hand for the opening, saying hello to shoppers and handing out special shopping bags and candy.

The store stayed busy with shoppers all day, they said.

One of those shoppers, Tred Spratley, had come from Newport News to shop at the new store, noting that it was quicker for him to come across the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel into Suffolk than to drive to the closest Peninsula store at Jefferson Commons.

“This is a great store,” he said. “There’s lots of merchandise, and it’s a great value.”

City officials, too, were happy to see the Harbour View shopping center get a new tenant.

“With such a wide selection of the latest fashions, T.J. Maxx is an ideal addition to the Harbour View East Shopping Center,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said in a press release announcing the grand opening. “This new store will enhance the shopping experience for Suffolk families.”

At the store on Thursday, she joked that her son had all but grown up at T.J. Maxx.

Two other big-box tenants are scheduled to be opening locations at the same shopping center.

PetSmart is set to open its doors April 11, with a grand opening to follow on April 16. And Dick’s Sporting Goods, which will be located beside the new T.J. Maxx, is set for site work to begin soon, officials say.