‘Madhouse’ at T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods Opening Day in Poughkeepsie
Yes, the parking situation was as bad as everyone feared. And it's probably only going to get worse.
I needed to get my haircut on Thursday, so I pulled into the Poughkeepsie Plaza mall at around 11am and immediately regretted my decision. It turns out that, unbeknownst to me, Thursday was also the grand opening of the new T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods stores.
Construction on the mall's $13.5 million renovations has been going on all summer, the work has added an additional 13,300 square feet of space to the existing Poughkeepsie Plaza. And if opening day is any indication, the money was well spent.
You're going to love the new stores. That is, if you can find a parking spot. The biggest fear everyone has had about the mall upgrades is that there wouldn't be enough parking spaces. And it's actually worse than predicted.
On Thursday long lines of cars snaked up and down the aisles looking for any available spaces. The fruitless attempt at finding a parking spot forced most people out of the lot and into adjoining businesses. Customers walked from Stop and Shop, Mattress Firm and even Dunkin' Donuts on Route 9, as those were the only parking lots with room for cars.
Once inside, the new store was a bustling hive of shoppers who couldn't seem to get enough of the deals. The biggest surprise, however, was that T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods are actually just one store. While they have separate entrances, the inside is a big space with no division between the two brands. In fact, there is only one bank of registers for all purchases.
Speaking of registers, the checkout line was one of the longest I've ever seen. A train of people wound up and down a long corral as people waited to pay for their purchases. Since it was opening day, all 12 registers were open and plenty of employees were around to assist with crowd control. The store has an impressive system that alerts those in line which register is open, allowing the line to move much quicker than you'd expect.
Opening day shoppers were given free reusable shopping bags, and the staff was set up outside the stores under big tents. Customers who purchased large items were able to leave them with staff members while they hiked all the way back to their cars. Instead of lugging that big plastic tree across two parking lots, people could drive back and just pick their purchases up on their way out of the lot.
It's no doubt that these two new stores will be popular, so don't expect the parking situation to get better anytime soon. In fact, it's probably going to get even worse. While shoppers were enjoying the grand opening celebration, crews were hard at work on the former Toys R Us just a few doors down, converting the building into a brand new Burlington Coat Factory. Once that store opens up, you may just have to leave your car at home and walk all the way to the Poughkeepsie Plaza. It'll probably be easier than finding a parking space. But for shoppers looking for a great deal, it may actually be worth it.