JC Penney opens its doors to eager Kings Plaza shoppers

Brooklyn Daily
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Take a number: Thousands of shoppers packed the mall while awaiting the store’s opening.
Sharp shooter, sharp dresser: Knicks legend Walt Frazier stopped by to sign autographs.
Dedicated: Mill Basinite Debbie Russo, second from right, showed up some four hours early to be seventh in line at the store opening.
Hats off: Simone Thompson found herself a new hat.

This grand opening had a lot in store.

Thousands of eager shoppers descended on the Kings Plaza Shopping Center for the Aug. 10 grand opening of the mall’s new JC Penney store. The store opened to long lines at 9:30 am with much fanfare, featuring a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebrity guests, and one Mill Basinite arrived some four hours early to make sure she was at the front of the line.

“I got there at 5:30 in the morning and I got to be number seven in line,” said Debbie Russo, who lives right across the street from the mall.

The first 100 shoppers received giveaways, gift cards and coupons for the new store.

There was also plenty of entertainment on the scene, with the Brooklynettes cheerleaders and the former New York Knicks star Walt Frazier greeting the shoppers, said Russo, who got to shake hands with the basketball legend.

“I was very excited about getting to meet Walt Frazier,” she said. “I got his picture for my husband.”

Another shopper tried to get in early but was surprised to find people already lined up around the block when she arrived just before 7 am.

“I got there about 6:45 am and the line was already all the way out to street and around the corner,” said Simone Thompson, who came up from Philadelphia to attend the store opening with her cousin, who lives in Brooklyn.

Thompson ended up spending about two hours in line, but said that it wasn’t too bad because the staff was very helpful and friendly.

“They made us comfortable, they gave out water and coffee in the line,” she said.

The atmosphere of the opening was so upbeat that Thompson even found herself dancing and singing to the music once she got into the store.

“The ambience was good, and I was singing and dancing I didn’t notice time was passing because we were having so much fun,” she said.

The new store manager said in a press release that he was looking forward to getting to know the Brooklyn customers and joining the New York retail scene.

“Being part of the New York area retail community is truly a dream come true, and I have a strong appreciation for everything this vibrant and diverse city has to offer,” said Georgia native Josh Simmons.

As part of the grand opening, Simmons presented a $5,000 donation to the Flatbush YMCA on behalf of the JC Penney Communities Foundation.

Until August 15, customers can also round up their purchase to the nearest dollar and donate the difference directly to the Y, the press announcement said.

Operating hours for the new JC Penney at Kings Plaza Shopping Center (5100 Kings Plaza, St,) are 10 am–9:30 pm, Monday–Friday; 10 am–10 pm, Saturday; and 11 am–8 pm on Sunday.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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