With a ribbon cutting Friday by the Niles Chamber of Commerce and a grand opening Saturday, the new Ross Dress for Less store at Golf Mill Shopping Center is open for business.
"We're excited to have our second location in Niles," said Fred Shuey, regional vice president for Ross, who was at the store for its soft opening Friday. The first Niles store, at Pointe Plaza on Touhy just north of Village Crossing Shopping Center, opened about a year ago.
The company opened 12 stores at that time--including Skokie and Arlington Heights locations--and is deepening its presence in the Chicagoland market by opening the Golf Mill store and four others, including Gurnee, Geneva and Darien, this weekend.
As to why the chain would open a second location in Niles, Shuey explained that it looks for specific parameters on an area's density and demographics.
"We understand about how many customers it takes to support a Ross store. If those parameters are right and the real estate available is right, then we go," he said.
Ross' target shopper is middle-income and most likely has a family.
"We say there are two types of shoppers--those that need a bargain and those that want a bargain," he said.
Shuey added he was impressed with Niles' diversity, saying he tried to help a customer who spoke only Polish.
Ross hired 80 employees for the Golf Mill store--higher than the typical 50 because the store is heading into the holiday season, Shuey said.
Most Ross stores have a uniform, box-type layout; designers had to lay out this store a little differently because it has both a parking lot and a mall entrance.
To celebrate the grand opening, Ross is making a $1,000 donation to the Union League Boys and Girls Club of Chicago.
It is also holding a drawing for a giveaway of one $500 gift card and five $100 gift cards. Customers can put enter at a table near the window.