The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza had reason to celebrate Labor Day: The Gap opened for business, making it the third national chain--after See’s Candies and the Disney Store--to open at the mall this year.
“It has a nice atmosphere and feels comfortable,” said customer Sandra Scott, a Crenshaw resident shopping for back-to-school clothes for her son. “Now people won’t have to drive all the way down to the Beverly Center or South Bay to go to the Gap. The same things are right here.”
The 10,000-square-foot store opened on the mall’s first level to an enthusiastic response and brisk sales, said a Gap employee. Jeans, particularly sale-priced baggies, moved off the shelves quickly.
Radiance Boutique owner Ruby Innis, who also operates a kiosk close to the Gap, said she looks for the store to do well, saying that the popular, modestly priced clothes are just what the sagging economy--and the mall--need.
“Mid-price clothes are really the only things that are selling now,” said Innis, who began stocking her new second-level shop with lower-priced items this summer. “You have to have them if you want to succeed. I used to carry mostly dressy, more expensive things to cater to the professional set. But the lower-priced things are what keep me in business.”
The Gap is a welcome addition to the mall, particularly in the wake of the quiet departure of said Plaza manager Glen Clark. The kiosk, which sold books and other items promoting Lee’s films, opened last fall amid much fanfare and closed in June, not long after a melee broke out during a musical event sponsored by Lee’s company at the mall.
Clark said that the filmmaker had expressed more interest in operating a store than a kiosk, and consequently pulled out of the mall. “It was the best thing for (Lee),” said Clark.
He said the arrival of the Gap and the recently renewed commitment to proceed with the construction of movie theaters are part of a positive trend at the Plaza.
Andre Scott, 17, a senior at University High School, said getting a Gap store is as positive as it gets.
“I just like their clothes,” said Scott. “I know a lot of my friends will be coming here too.”