Nearly 300 people waited in rainy weather for the opening of the Nordstrom Rack on 18th and L Streets NW on Thursday morning.
By the time the store opened at 9 a.m., the crowd snaked along 18th Street and onto K Street.
At the front of the line was Charlene Dillard, who had arrived at 5:30 a.m. from her home in Mt. Rainier.
“I’d heard that the first 30 people would get $100 gift cards,” she said.
That turned out to be untrue (there was a drawing instead), but no matter.
By 9:10, Dillard was leaving the store, with a new silk blouse. She’d also received an umbrella, a tote bag and a cookie (her breakfast, she said) while waiting in line.
“I don’t normally stop at Nordstrom Rack, but I was so excited for this,” she said as she headed to her job on K Street.
The excitement surrounding the arrival of the 35,00-square-foot store bodes well for the future of retail in downtown Washington, said Leona Agouridis, executive director of the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District.
“It shows an amazing potential for retail here in the Golden Triangle,” Agouridis said. “People want to shop.”
It’s been a rough few years for the Golden Triangle — the neighborhood nestled between Farragut Square, Washington Circle and Dupont Circle — with the departure of retailers like Filene’s Basement and Talbots. Both of those sites along Connecticut Avenue remain vacant.
The 35,000-square-foot store, located at the former Borders site, is the 10th Nordstrom Rack in the Washington area. There are also nearby locations in Pentagon City and Friendship Heights.