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High-end makeup store Sephora opens doors in Grand Forks

Lori Beaton gives out prizes to shoppers waiting in line outside of the JCPenney store for the grand opening of Sephora Friday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 6
UND student Kelsey McElroy applies makeup after being one of the first 100 women inside Sephora. Photo by Anna Burleson3 / 6
A crowd of customer in Sephora on opening day. Photo by Anna Burleson.4 / 6
A customer looks at a display in Sephora. Photo by Anna Burleson5 / 6
Photo by Anna Burleson6 / 6

UND student Kelsey McElroy stood in front of a mirror smiling as she delicately applied foundation to her face. She had been waiting in line for more than an hour to be one of the first people inside J.C. Penney’s new high-end makeup store, Sephora.

“I’m big on makeup, and I’m not really one to go to the drug stores to get my makeup,” she said. “I like the good stuff, so it’s nice that it’s finally here.”

McElroy was surrounded by nearly 250 other women who also came to the store’s grand opening on Friday. The store is in its own room within J.C. Penney that’s hard to miss with its gleaming façade and clean, black-and-white color scheme.

The line that eventually snaked through the Columbia Mall concourse began to form in the early hours of the morning because the first 100 people were promised free gift cards.

At 10 a.m., J.C. Penney employee Bonnie Lesmeister stood at the store’s entrance and got the crowd amped up with cheers of “Come on ladies! Sephora! We’re open!” as they entered the store.

But samples and free products didn’t matter to most of the women who stood toward the back of the line.

Sarah Christensen wears Clinique makeup that is already available at the mall, but said she “thought it’d be fun to check out something that offered more makeup opportunities.”

Sarah Hazzle was one of the few who brought their boyfriends or husbands along.

“I’m just here for moral support,” Hazzle’s boyfriend Jason Driscoll said, laughing as they stood arm-in-arm waiting to go inside.

Sephora, a national makeup and beauty product chain, carries more expensive brands like Dior, Bare Minerals and Marc Jacobs. The store will be open during J.C. Penney’s regular hours and will offer makeup consultation services.

J.C. Penney’s District Leader Tom Armstrong said the opening went extremely well.

“This has been fantastic,” he said. “We’re real pleased with the turnout and excited about bringing this up here to Grand Forks.”

And the frenzied customers seemed pleased, too, as they poured out of the store holding tiny black-and-white shopping bags filled with everything from lipstick to perfume.


Anna Burleson

Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact her with story ideas or tips by phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. Examples of her work can be accessed here.

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