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Clothing brand opens its first ND store in West Acres

North Dakota’s first lululemon store opened Friday, Nov. 17, at West Acres Shopping Center.David Samson / The Forum1 / 2
North Dakota’s first lululemon store opened Friday, Nov. 17, at West Acres Shopping Center.David Samson / The Forum2 / 2

FARGO—A line of 40 or so people waiting for the doors to be unlocked said it all—locals were eager to check out North Dakota's first lululemon store when it opened Friday, Nov. 17, in West Acres Shopping Center.

The lifestyle clothing and athletic gear brand that was founded in Vancouver in 1998 is inspired by yoga, and that remains the foundation of the company that had more than 400 stores around the world by the start of 2017.

Fargo resident Sierra Schaefer said she enjoys lululemon leggings for yoga, as well as other yoga clothing she can buy there. She's previously shopped at lululemon stores in Arizona, Las Vegas and Minnesota's Twin Cities where the brand has seven locations, but said she had to make a stop by the new store in Fargo to check it out.

"I like the layout of this one a little bit better," she said. "It's not so crowded, and it's a little bit bigger."

Regional Manager Julie Harris said lululemon's foundation is still yoga, but the brand now makes clothing for virtually every sport, as well as for work, leisure or just getting to and from the gym.

"We are experts at the product and helping them find the right thing for the purpose that they're planning to use it for," she said. "In a nutshell, we want runners in running gear; we don't want runners in yoga gear."

In addition to that "intention" behind all of its products and their uses, Harris said the brand is known for having a "fun" vibe in its stores, as well as its deliberate effort to tap into the local community.

The Fargo store, for example, boasts a large reclaimed wood piece made by local designers with the latitude and longitude of Fargo that accents the wall behind the front counter. A local photographer has two large photos from western North Dakota's Badlands on the wall, too.

Harris said that local flavor will also apply to the events the Fargo store will plan and hold throughout the year, such as yoga sessions or other activities.

"What this store is doing may look very different and should look very different than what a store in southern California is doing," she said.

Donna Genereux said it was her first time getting to visit a lululemon store. The resident of the Red Lake Falls, Minn., area said the store seemed "really nice," even if it was "kind of pricey," and said she'd probably buy some yoga pants there eventually.

North Dakota State University student Morgyn Drietz was like a lot of others stopping by the store Friday morning—she wanted to see what the big deal was about the newest addition to West Acres. She doesn't run or do yoga, so she said she's not sure she'll be a regular shopper there.

As customers walked in and out of the store, several women took a moment to pause by the entrance to snap photos or take a selfie with the sign before entering.

Jane Chase and her daughter, Gabbie Chase, said they had to take a look while they were in the mall.

Chase said she's been to lululemon stores in Minneapolis. She likes the brand's pants, while her kids are big fans of its entire array of clothing.

She said it was exciting in some ways to get a store closer to home, though she had mixed feelings about being able to shop there regularly.

"I think it's cool for Fargo, but it kind of takes the exclusiveness of it away," she said.

But Schaefer said she was excited to have one in town, and guessed she'll visit once a month or whenever she needs some new yoga gear.

"I was pretty excited," she said about the store opening. "I really enjoy lululemon."

Business profile

What: lululemon

Where: West Acres Shopping Center, 3902 13th Ave. S.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday

Phone: (701) 282-8918

Online: www.facebook.com/lululemonwestacres

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.

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