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March 29. 2012 9:49PM

Epping Marshalls opens with a crowd


Members of the Heavenly Hatters share some laughs as they wait to enter the new Marshalls store in Epping during its grand opening Thursday morning. From left, Mildred Mather, 80; Judith Hewson, 70; Lorraine Bateman, 80; Alma Vahey, 78; and Norma Dodge, 88. (Jason Schreiber)

EPPING — The Heavenly Hatters of Brentwood were among the first ladies in line when the ribbon was cut and the doors opened at the new Marshalls store Thursday morning.

“We always like to shop,” said a smiling Mildred Mather, 80, of Brentwood, a member of the local chapter of the Red Hat Society who wore her red hat with the big brim and purple bow to the grand opening.

The store is the latest to open in the new 260,000-square-foot Brickyard Square shopping center being built by Waterstone Retail Development at the junction of routes 125 and 101.

This week's opening of the 23,000-square-foot Marshalls, which employs more than 60 workers, will be followed by a Michaels arts and crafts store expected to open in September along with a 10-screen movie theater to be operated by O'neil Cinemas of Londonderry.

Other stores that opened in the past couple of weeks include Famous Footwear and Dress Barn. A PetSmart store will open April 14.

Doug Richardson, director of development for Waterstone, said he was pleased with the progress of the project that's been in the planning stages for several years and survived the economic downtown that's now turning around.

“We're very happy. It's certainly something that has been long awaited,” Richardson said.

With Thursday's opening of the Epping store, the national off-price family apparel and home retailer now has nine locations in New Hampshire.

Many local shoppers who lined up outside the store before its 8 a.m. opening said they were excited to have a Marshalls nearby.

Raymond mother Lisa Dufor raced over for the grand opening with her three young children to hunt for some deals before she had to get them off to school.

“I'm here because I love shopping, and I love Marshalls and T.J. Maxx. We have 50 minutes before they have to get to school,” Dufor said as she rushed into the store along with dozens of others in line.



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