Three Kohl's stores in the Valley opened quietly Sunday, bringing new life to former Mervyns locations.
Kohl's at Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis, Hanford Mall and near Prospect Street and Henderson Avenue in Porterville held "soft openings" Sunday, days before their scheduled Wednesday grand opening events.
Despite signs on the Clovis Kohl's declaring the store would open Sept. 29, the store was bustling with customers Sunday and Monday.
Kristi Allen, who lives in southeast Fresno, said Monday that she got tired of driving her family to north Fresno to shop for clothes.
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"We missed Mervyns, and when Gottschalks left there wasn't any better quality [clothing] around," she said.
Kohl's opening is also bringing more customers into the rest of the mall, said Sierra Vista general manager Greg Newman.
"For it being their soft opening, there's a whole new energy inside the mall," he said. "There's customers flowing through Kohl's into the mall."
The 75,000-square-foot Clovis store looks like most Kohl's stores in the area, but with an updated design outside the women's dressing rooms featuring a waiting area with chairs and benches.
No traces of the former Mervyns remained, with the store's four entrances reduced to two. That allows more space for merchandise, Kohl's district manager Christi Boudakian said.
The three stores combined employ 400 people, with 140 at the Clovis store. The mix of full- and part-time jobs start at minimum wage, and pay is based on experience, Boudakian said. Both full- and part-time jobs come with benefits after a certain amount of hours are worked.
All three stores will hold grand-opening events Wednesday, with ribbon cuttings at 6:45 a.m. and doors opening at 7 a.m.