Mall at UTC

Design stars, execs, artists, musicians and just regular ol' shoppers turn out for Macy's opening at the Mall at UTC

UNIVERSITY PARK -- After the red ribbon was cut, HGTV's David Bromstad raised the large, red scissors in the air as blue, green and yellow confetti filled the air.

Macy's at The Mall at University Town Center was officially open.

Bromstad, along with Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren and vice president store manager Kerri Yelle, celebrated the official opening Thursday morning along with the store's employees, hundreds of shoppers and the Lakewood Ranch High School marching band.

"Macy's brings a very delicious upper-elegance that Sarasota has always needed," said Bromstad, a Ringling School of Art and Design graduate. "I'm just really honored that Macy's wanted me to be here. It's an absolute true pleasure." Bromstad won the Home & Garden TV reality program "Design Star" in 2006.

Hundreds of Macy's shoppers wrapped around the new store for hours before the 10 a.m. opening. The first 400 shoppers received $10 gift cards to the store.

Lundgren, who owns a house on Casey Key, called Sarasota one of the company's best markets.

"You should all be very, very proud of that," he said at the ribbon-cutting. "There are growing jobs here and there's obviously tremendous construction going on here. This is all good news for our local economy here in Sarasota.

"We are the largest department store in America and one of the largest in the world. A $30 billion company, but we are focused on the local consumer who is living in this particular market."

Ruth Taber drove from Ocala to be at the Macy's opening. Her nephew is the store's general manager of shoes and fine jewelry. When he came out of the store along with other store employees for the ribbon cutting, she was thrilled.

"I am so proud of him," she said. "The whole family is."

Taber took advantage of learning some beauty tips at Macy's Wake Up with Make Up beauty event, located under a white tent in the retailer's north parking lot.

"I'm interested in trying to be more beautiful," Taber said, adding that she's never been to something like this before.

Vanessa Cohello, along with her younger sister and mother, drove from Tampa and were in line by 6:30 a.m. for the beauty event, which featured stations from some of the most popular makeup brands.

"I am beyond excited to be first in line," Cohello said.

Bobbi Brown cosmetics' Rogelio Reyna, a professional artist, was the featured makeup artist at the event. Representatives from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome and Clarisonic were also there.

Macy's "is like our second home," Reyna said. "The Macy's client is the real woman ... Everybody is just excited that we are here at Macy's."

With Macy's opening at the Mall at UTC, Jaclyn Young, a Clinique account executive, said, "We are looking to connect with the Sarasota client."

The Lakewood Ranch High School marching band and color guard performed at the ribbon-cutting before they hopped on Manatee County School District buses to head back to school.

Yahpora Austin, a senior at Lakewood Ranch and a color-guard member, was happy to be missing school.

"It was fun," Austin said after the performance. "It was a good memory."

With a camera around her neck, Chrissy Harshman said she came to watch her son perform.

"Our kids work really hard, so it is nice to get them out here so people can see them," she said.

While Bromstad was "super excited" to be at the mall opening, he said he is glad that it opened after he was a student at Ringling.

"This is a very special place, and to have something so amazing like a Macy's be here is delicious, wonderful, fabulous," he said. "I would have been broke when I was a student, but thank God they are opening now when I am not broke ... Happy Macy's Day!"

Claire Aronson, University Parkway/Sarasota reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.

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