Maurices celebrates grand re-opening with chamber ribbon cutting

Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Maurices

Celebrating the grand re-opening of Maurices at College Square Mall in Morristown on Oct. 31 are from left, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce ambassador Paula Billingsly, incoming Chamber Chair Roni Snyder, Store Manager Jamie Wyatt, College Square Mall General Manager Mike Kaufman, District Manager Deana Evans, Assistant Manager Brandi England, First Assistant Manager Robin Garner, Sales Associate Brittany Musser, Lewis Wyatt, College Square Mall Assistant General Manager Debra Curtice and Chamber Ambassador Janet Hofer.

The color co-coordinated balloons temporarily affixed to the newly installed blue doors of Maurices at College Square Mall indicated a celebration was in order on Oct. 31.

After closing down the store in early September, moving merchandise and fixtures to a temporary location next to the Bookland store, then doing it all again in reverse, Store Manager Jamie Wyatt and her staff were eager to debut the new look of Maurices with a Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.

“It’s labor-intensive, but it’s exciting,” Wyatt said. “We feel it’s a gift, like something that Maurices has given us as a reward. They want us to be a store in the forefront of their branding effort.”

Wyatt made a sacrifice in the best interest of the remodel that allowed room at the rear of the store for generously sized fitting rooms, one of her two favorite aspects of the new look — “Giving up my office was worth it,” she said.

Wyatt’s other favorite item is the set of blue doors that have replaced the store’s former two separate gated entrances. A visual highlight of the lighting fixtures is the large chandelier that hangs over the cash register area. After a double-take, customers will note it was created from the clear clothes hangers used by the company.

“The chandelier was a great idea,” Wyatt said.

The change in the store’s fixture package (clothing displays) allows customers to visualize their outfits, Wyatt said. The fixtures were designed to allow more room on the shopping floor and make it easier for customers to maneuver through the displays.

“The fixtures add a lot more capacity, so we can drive high volume, although we are already considered a high volume store,” Wyatt said. “We are a regional mall now, and a lot of that designation is due to the construction and the growth on the east end of town.

“Essentially, we have five counties that touch our border that do not have a variety of shopping, so we are able to offer fashion to them. We draw a lot from the Lakeway Area in general, not just Hamblen County. We have a high customer count coming from Virginia and Kentucky, and some from North Carolina and much of that traffic has to do with area roads and our location.”

The mall has announced new store sites and expanded current tenant sites (see Section A of today’s paper), a growth trend that Wyatt hoped to support with her store’s renovation. The store’s décor package is at the level of the company’s Turkey Creek site.

“We’ve got a lot of growth and changes happening at the mall and we think, honestly, if other companies see that, they will want to be a part of it,” she said. “That is what we want, because growth is going to help retain shoppers in Hamblen County. We need that for our store to be successful and for tax dollars in the community. We want people to stay home and not go to Knoxville or Johnson City — there is no reason to. That fact is really important to me, as a local business manager.”

The Morristown store has been tagged by the company to serve as a community representative, a fact that enables Wyatt to support Lakeway Area non-profit agencies.

“We are in an emerging market, and Maurices is in a position to become more involved with in the community,” she said.

Wyatt is already working with the two Morristown high schools, helping students learn the art of applying for jobs in the local market. She participated in Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System’s recent Girl’s Night Out, and she and store staff also host “splurge” parties for companies and organizations that allow employees to shop after hours at the store.

“We enjoy doing that,” Wyatt said. “We are open to do fashions shows. I am open to a lot of things; people just need to let me know what the needs are in the community and what’s out there that we can support.”

“Jamie’s work ethic is honest, sincere and caring. She will bend over backwards to help you out. She is all about Maurices and we love her for it,” Assistant Store Manager Brandi England said.

“At Maurices our customers become more than just a customer, they become friends. I even get texted now, with customers asking what’s new at the store. Not just any store does that, but we do here.”

For more information about Maurices community involvement, call Wyatt at 423-587-9283.

- By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer

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