Homewood officials joined with store staff for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Aug. 26, to mark the grand opening of Burlington at 17825 Halsted St.
Burlington, previously known as Burlington Coat Factory, sells coats, shoes, other clothing, handbags, small kitchen appliances, toys, backpacks and seasonal decorations.
Within the first hour of the store’s opening, associates had handed out $5 off coupons to the first 200 people who walked through the front door.
“Based on what I’ve seen, women in particular will love shopping at Burlington,” said Rich Hofeld, the mayor of Homewood. “We’re excited to see Burlington come into the business area. It really completes the offering in the Halsted corridor.”
Jackie Hancock, the Homewood store manager, said there’s something for everyone at Burlington. He described the shopping experience at Burlington as “great deals” and a “treasure hunt.”
Hancock, who previously managed the Burlington in Matteson, said most of his employees are new hires from the community and didn’t transfer from another location. The employees spent the last month turning the inside of the empty store into one filled with shelves of clothes and other products for sale.
Homewood Burlington sales associate Ishmael Ayala, 18, said this is his first job.
“Ever since I graduated a few months ago from Crete-Monee High School, I applied for 15, 16 jobs. And this is the first job that ever called me saying ‘you’re hired,’” Ayala said. “We had to build a rack. We were doing trash and carrying pallets. And stocking up the shelves. It was a lot. But everybody had their own job and after we were done, we’d help each other out.”
In partnership with the non-profit organization AdoptAClassroom.org, Burlington donated $5,000 to Angelou Elementary in Harvey. Juli Majorney, the principal of the school, was at the grand opening ceremony to accept the giant-sized check.
“The teachers are going to be so excited. We know that teachers have had a hard time these past couple years especially,” Majorney said. “The students are going to be so excited. They’re going to have so many questions, and I absolutely can’t wait to answer them.”
This money will be used to go to classroom supplies that the teachers need. Whenever Angelou Elementary teachers need new supplies, they’ll be able to log onto their AdoptAClassroom.org account and dip into the funds to purchase them.
Chris Miller, the group senior vice president of marketing and strategy at Burlington, said the company has “a long-standing partnership with AdoptAClassroom.org” and that they’ve donated over $10 million in the last six years.
“Whenever we open a new store, we choose a local school that we can help to support,” Miller said, adding that AdopAClassroom.org and Burlington work to select nearby schools in the most need. “The average teacher spends over $500 of their own money to buy school supplies for their kids. And we don’t think that’s right.”