GREENFIELD — Ava Ruggles has been looking forward to this day for a long time.
The soon-to-be 7-year-old had been asking all the grown-ups in her life to buy her a Kohl’s gift card, knowing the department store would open in her backyard just days before her Oct. 3 birthday.
Sunday, she was one of hundreds who turned out for the opening of the Greenfield Kohl’s, 2223 Barrett Drive, the 41st Kohl’s location to open in Indiana.
Ava and her mom, Christian Ruggles of Greenfield, meandered through the maze of clothing racks, eyeing the different outfits the young girl might chose once she’s gotten her birthday gift cards.
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While shopping Sunday was fun, having a major department store just down the road means convenience every other day of the year as well, Ruggles said.
“It’s really a relief to have another option in town,” she said.
From its opening at 10 a.m. until it closed at 8 p.m. Sunday, the store was buzzing with avid shoppers and residents interested to see what the county’s newest retailer had to offer.
For years, Hancock County residents waited as rumors of a Kohl’s opening in Greenfield swirled. Sunday, that promise came to fruition and was welcomed by crowds that barely let up over the course of the day.
The company first unveiled plans in 2011 to open a 55,000-square-foot store in the Greenfield Business Park just southeast of the Interstate 70 and State Street interchange. Those plans were called off after several delays in construction.
Then, in 2015, Kohl’s announced plans for a smaller store.
The 35,000-square-foot store is a scaled-down version of a full-sized Kohl’s, with smaller versions of each department, excluding fine jewelry and makeup.Kiosks around the store offer shoppers the option to place orders for additional items that can be shipped to the store for pickup.
This “small, more nimble,” store, as the corporation calls it, was created to cater to “under-served markets,” according to a news release.
Keeping up with the crowds was a challenge from the moment the store opened — as customers lined up outside the door before the 10 a.m. kickoff, Kohl’s associates said.
Taking a look around the store, Billy Owens of Greenfield said he’s glad to see more retail options in Greenfield.
Owens had heard several coworkers buzzing about the opening. Sunday, he spotted the “now open” sign while driving by and decided to take his wife to the new store, though he made sure she left her pocketbook at home, he said with a wink.
“I thought, ‘Oh boy, it’ll be a madhouse,’” he said.
He and his wife avoided the rush, stopping by to scan the aisles among some of the last customers of the day Sunday.
He eyed a bright orange pair of sneakers with interest but resisted the urge — knowing there would be plenty of purchases to come. Sunday was for browsing only.
“I’m gonna keep my wallet in my pocket,” he said with a smile.