TURLOCK -- Old Navy opened its newest store Thursday, much to the delight of shoppers looking to buy the company's trendy, inexpensive clothes close to home.
"This saves us a 40-minute drive," said Hardeep Hundal of Turlock, in line with her mother-in-law ahead of the 9 a.m. opening. She said they used to drive to the nearest Old Navy in Manteca to outfit her family.
Store manager Michelle Gibson said employees most of whom were hired from Turlock and the surrounding area were just as excited to get going as those on the other side of the glass. "We've been fielding hundreds of calls (from people) asking when we're going to open," she said.
The 15,000-square-foot store is in a former Borders bookstore that went out of business when the chain closed last year. Along with the recently opened Ulta cosmetics store and Olive Garden restaurant, it fills out the Monte Vista Crossings shopping center on the south side of Monte Vista Avenue.
The retailer plans a weekend of grand-opening events, starting with a party from 6 to 8 p.m. today. A Facebook page dedicated to the Turlock store offers updates on the plans; it already has more than 5,000 likes.
For several years, Old Navy has been looking to get into the shopping center, which offers the roadside frontage and easy highway access the retailer seeks for its stores. In 2006, the Old Navy Web site briefly listed Monte Vista Crossings as a future location. It turns out that prediction was true, just a few years ahead of itself.
Thursday morning, a couple of dozen shoppers lined up outside the store, waiting to get a look at the brightly colored tops, jeans and children's clothing carefully set up on display.
"This is going to make school shopping way easy," Chelsey Richardson said. "We don't have to go to Manteca, or go online."
She was looking around the store with companion Florence Crittenden, who wanted to pick up some clothes for an upcoming vacation.
"I'm getting ready to go to Reno," Crittenden said. "I need to get some new stuff."
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343.