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New J.C. Penney store set to debut in Brighton

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Grand opening Friday morning

By Kevin Denke

J.C. Penney, once a staple of Brighton’s Main Street, makes its return to the community this week with the grand opening of its new, 104,000-square-foot store at Prairie Center, 1950 Prairie Center Pkwy.

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Local community leaders are set to join J.C. Penney representatives at 8:45 a.m. Friday for the store’s grand opening. Last week, many of the 110 new J.C. Penney employees were busy preparing the final touches for the store’s soft opening Feb. 28, a day earlier than they planned.

“We’ve got people driving in the parking lot every day, saying, ‘Are you guys open, are you guys open?’” said assistant store manager Mark Beeson.

The soft opening, according to Beeson, also gives the store employees a chance to be prepared for when customers come in the door and make sure store processes are in place so they can present a seamless operation when they officially open their doors.

The Brighton location is also one of a handful of new J.C. Penney stores to offer a 1,500-square-foot, in-house Sephora beauty boutique with a variety of makeup, skincare, fragrance and accessory products.

“We’re one of the three stores in Colorado that currently has that,” Beeson said. “It’s a new concept going forward with J.C. Penney in a partnership with Sephora. We’re very excited to be able to offer that to our customers.”

In addition to the traditional fare of clothing, houseware and home furnishings, the new store provides an assortment of services under one roof, including an all-occasion portrait studio, expert in-home custom decorating services and a full-service salon offering an array of professional hair and beauty services, as well as salon-brand products. Customers can place orders or pick up Internet and catalog purchases at the store’s service desk.

Robin Stehl is the new store’s manager. Beeson, a veteran retail manager, joined J.C. Penney six months ago to help with opening the new store.

“I was with another retailer and decided this was a better opportunity for me and my family,” Beeson said. “It’s been a great move so far. I’m very happy with it, as far the company’s philosophy to how they approach the business and their approach to the customer, it’s been the best retail experience I’ve had so far.”

While he admits opening a new store is a challenge, he credits the J. C. Penney corporate team for how organized the new store’s birth has been.

J.C. Penney, long recognized as being anchors of large shopping malls, has transformed its image in past years, opting to open stand-alone stores instead. Beeson said the Prairie Center spot was an ideal location.

“When you look at new and growing areas, obviously Brighton has been on the map for a while from Penney’s perspective,” Beeson said. “We see a great growing opportunity, a diverse community and it’s something we want to be a part of.”

The corporation isn’t waiting to make its impact felt throughout the community. As part of the March 6 grand opening celebration, the J.C. Penney Afterschool Fund will contribute a $5,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver Robert M. Shopneck Branch in Brighton that will allow local children to participate in afterschool programs during the school year. The store also will provide five, $50 gift cards to the club to help students purchase school apparel. The J.C. Penney Afterschool Fund is a charitable organization committed to providing children in need with access to life-enriching afterschool programs that foster their academic, physical and social development.

J.C. Penney at Prairie Center store hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.