FARGO—It's certainly not the first women's clothing store in town, but there's big buzz about the Tuesday, Nov. 21, opening of Torrid.
The chain, which was formerly owned by Hot Topic and still operates under the same parent company, got its start in California in 2001. It's grown steadily ever since, garnering attention for its affordably priced "on-trend" clothing and accessories for teenagers and women, especially those 18 to 35.
Fargo's first Torrid will open to the public at 10 a.m. Tuesday, leasing a space previously occupied by Godfather's Pizza in the T.J. Maxx Plaza, 4340 13th Ave. S.
Vice President of Stores S. Craig Debenham said Torrid now has more than 540 stores in the U.S. and Canada, including locations in Minot and Bismarck in North Dakota and eight stores in Minnesota.
He said it's the brand's focus on "curvy" plus-size clothing—its products are available in sizes 10 through 30—that have made Torrid successful in a crowded retail landscape.
"For that customer that is those sizes, that can be an absolutely transformational experience," Debenham said. "For years, she hasn't had the opportunity to shop in a store like our store that offers what we offer."
Picking a spot
Marv Greenberg handles leasing for T.J. Maxx Plaza, and served as the leasing agent to bring the corporate-owned Torrid store to the shopping center.
He said the brand was a good fit for the plaza because of its combination of style, pricing and sizing. Those three traits all helped Torrid become one of the most-requested stores for West Acres Shopping Center in recent years, he said.
The mall reported in March that Torrid was among nine stores it was talking to about possibly leasing space there.
But the brand ultimately picked T.J. Maxx Plaza, not West Acres, something Greenberg said happened because of the "real good mix" of businesses at the plaza.
In addition to a T.J. Maxx, the shopping center also is home to a Bed, Bath & Beyond store, a Shoe Carnival and two kid-centric retailers, Carter's and OshKosh B'gosh.
The plaza also has another women's store, LeeAnne's Bridal, as well as a Casual Male XL, a plus-size clothing store for men that's the male version in some ways of what Torrid will be for women.
Debenham said Torrid stores tend to appeal to women of all ages, ranging from 12-year-old young shoppers to 75-year-old women looking for stylish clothing. He said they carry "everything that can dress her from head to toe," including lingerie, accessories, shoes, dresses and more.
A study reported last fall in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education said the average size for an American woman was 16, not size 14 as previously stated. Debenham said that's why Torrid carries products meant for the average woman, standing out in a retail landscape that often only stocks smaller sizes.
"She deserves the right to be able to buy that type of clothing at our store," he said.
Debenham said Torrid has long wanted to come to Fargo because of its status as the largest city in North Dakota. Another consideration, he said, is the lack of other locations nearby—the brand's closest other stores are in Bismarck and St. Cloud, Minn.
"We finally had the right opportunity and right location to be there," he said.
Where: 4340 13th Ave. S., Fargo
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
Phone: (701) 277-4894