By Janae Easlon
The Bellingham Business Journal
Sephora opened its location in Bellis Fair Mall to an ecstatic crowd of more than 800 in its successful ribbon cutting on Friday, June 17.
Mall employees ran out of movable poles for crowd control and had to compensate with caution tape, General Manager of Bellis Fair Rene Morris said.
The Sephora is stationed within JCPenney. Before it opened in Bellingham, the nearest Sephora store was an hour and 15 minutes away at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood.
Manager of JCPenney Janis Haines said traffic has grown in the store since the opening of the Sephora. “We have more customers coming into our store asking where Sephora is, and we see people walking through with Sephora bags but also carrying JCPenney bags as well,” she said.
The first 100 guests received gift cards, and after they were gone 600 bags with various samples of Sephora products were handed out, Haines said.
“When they come in, their eyes open up and you can see the excitement around the new location,” Haines said.
Customers had been asking store employees frequently when the grand opening would be since store banners went up in April.
Before the opening of Sephora, Target and Macy’s were the only stores selling cosmetics in the mall, Morris said.
“Our community deserves it, Morris said. “They shouldn’t have to travel far to get their cosmetics.”
The beauty retailer ULTA will soon follow. It is set to open before holiday shopping starts this year at the mall. It is set to go in next to Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Normally, ULTA places its stores in strip malls so that it has a presence on the street front, and so customers can enter the store directly from outside, Morris said. However, its location in Bellis Fair will be an exception.
Both stores provide cosmetics and perfume brands not found in stores in Bellingham, such as Urban Decay and Too Faced.
Paris-based Sephora operates more than 360 stores in North America. The first Sephora store in the United States opened in 1998 in New York City. Washington has 14 Sephora locations.
ULTA is the largest beauty retailer in the United States. It opened its first location 25 years ago and has its headquarters in Bolingbrook, Illinois. ULTA Beauty has about 20 locations in Washington, with the majority in Seattle.