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From Dressing Rooms to Dress Rails
I asked Kellyanne to give us a virtual tour and her thoughts on the new store and how it compared to the Irish Penneys.
She arrived bright and early and found the store busy. But who were the majority of the shopper? Irish women, that's who. In fact the aisles were full of Irish women on mobiles telling their friends (possibly in Boston, possibly in Ireland) about the bargains that they were picking up.
Luckily Kellyanne is well up with Irish lingo and could easily translate the 'it's only bleedin' massive!' and 'chalk it down, I'm getting two of them' conversations that were going on in her vicinity.
When I heard that Penneys, sorry, Primark had opened in Boston, I desperately wanted to see the inside. But I couldn't afford to involve Aer Lingus in this mission.
I had lots of questions like does this new store carry the same range as we have here? Was there anything different in there that I should be saving my, eh, pennies for? Are their changing rooms less like a World Cup-worthy scrummage? And why is the location so iconic?
So I asked my close friend and native Bostonian, Kellyanne, to take us on a virtual tour. She was the ideal person to carry out this mission - this woman can shop and having lived in Dublin for a year, she was well acquainted with the joys of the Irish Penneys experience.
And this was no fleeting trip
Oh no. Our Kellyanne spent an hour rummaging in every corner to bring us all the pics and info. Her initial impression was that the pieces seemed to be of decent quality but that they seemed a little more expensive than her experience of Dublin's Penneys pricing.
But there were certainly some other differences between our local Penneys and the Bostonian version in terms of the dressing rooms, dress range, Wifi, accessories and more. And did we mention the free hot beverages? Stay with us, we'll explain all.
Why is the location so relevant?
Well, it might just seem familiar to a lot of you.
Have you ever been to Filene’s Basement?
The store is based on the site of the old Filene’s building in a neighborhood known as Downtown Crossing, an area that's been going through a lot of development in recent years. It’s right between Beacon Hill (State Gov’t HQ), the Boston Common and the Financial District. It’s right on the “T” – the Bostonian equivalent of the subway.
And Filene’s is relevant because “Filene’s Basement” is about as legendary as bargain shopping got in Boston. Show me someone who didn't go there on their J1 and I'll show you someone who missed out on all the best bargains.
Shall we commence our virtual walk through the store together?
The buying team deserve a clap on the back, they've done a good job of bringing in clothes that are geared towards local tastes. But with so much competition with stores like Banana Republic and TK Maxx close by, will they find their niche?
Where shall we start?
Overall the space looks modern and really bright with lots of neon and an H&M/Topshop feel.
There are four floors, with the first floor packed full of women's clothes and dressing rooms. And these individual dressing rooms are not to be sniffed at, they're stand-out nice and honestly better than plenty of higher end stores.
We are clearly ready for a Boston winter
All the puffy coats stood to puffy attention as the shoppers commented on the good value of the coats. Kellyanne made her first purchase, picking up a long navy one for just $40. But the jury is out on whether it will survive a Boston winter.
Winter warmers for under $10
Way to play to the hometown crowd with cosy hats that channeled the Patriots' and Celtics' colours. And Kelly's favourite purchase of the day was a $5 grey scarf from their winter accessories.
They have tons of cheap hair ties and hair bands
Boston will be entering festival-ville before it knows what's hit it.
Fourth floor for homeware: where else would you get all your sheets?
And towels. And cushions. And inspirational quotes on canvas.
Well you just NEED these
And for $2.50? In that case we'll take one in every colour known to man
No, we don't know what they are either
But for that price, trust us, you want them.
And we haven't forgotten about the boys
The third floor also has some pieces for the boys.It looks like a lot of clothing sections that you'd find in New England with dark colors,
jumpers sweaters and plenty of puffy jackets.
The second floor is given over to workout wear
And lots of it. Just watch out for the see-through leggings. We don't want to be spreading this phenomenon internationally.
They also have tons of cute sweatshirts
And you know that these will actually be referred to as sweatshirts.
And the little lounge on the second floor?
We quite like this nod to Filene’s past.
The third floor is home to the lingerie
Lots of cute $8 slip nighties and $9 PJ sets. Though it would appear that the animal onesies (printed ones for humans, like, not for actual animals though God knows, they probably exist too) have the natives a little baffled as our Bostonian wondered why these were so popular with the shoppers, concluding that maybe the good people of Boston are actual quite partial to these hitherto relatively unknown furry onesies or that they are just up for a laugh.
Kelly, you'll be wearing them non-stop for the next four months. You would do well to accept your furry fate now.
$15 denims, we'll take ten pairs please.
Time to check out the dress rails
Penneys is the Irish home of €12 dresses, with lots to choose from. But the Boston store's dress selection was smaller and though the price tag was on average a mere $15, Kelly only found one that had her reaching for her wallet (and I've seen her in action in the Henry Street store in Dublin; the girl can pick up ten in one go if the rails are full of good stuff).
But she did overhear an American Mom and daughter discussing and coming to the inevitable conclusion, “it’s so cheap- just buy it! You can wear it to work.”
Mission accomplished, Penneys.
The free Wifi is a nice touch
You can take and send oodles of pictures to look for second opinions from your friends.
Follow Fashion, Follow Penneys?
We need us some new signs.
We can see us leaving here with a bag or 20
Yeah, ok, 21.
Free tea or coffee?
You might need one after all that shopping.
Looks awesome, where did you get it?
Yes, the answer 'Penneys, $10' might just be set to take over the States.
Do you live in Boston and have you visited the new store? Or if you were visiting the city, would you make a point of stopping in?