KENNEWICK -- High fashion, low price is the attitude at Columbia Center mall's newest store, DownEast Basics.
If you have shopped at the Spokane Valley Mall in the past few years, you might be familiar with the concept.
Katie Zimmerman, store manager for the new Kennewick DownEast Basics, said when she first started with the company in Spokane in 2008, most of her customers were from either the Tri-Cities or Seattle.
"But mainly the Tri-Cities," she said. "Even back then, they kept saying they wished we'd open a store in their town."
Customers are very busy on DownEast's Facebook page too, said Kathy Cabrera from her office in Atlanta, Ga., where she represents the company. Yet because DownEast's 42 stores are concentrated in the western third of the country, Cabrera has to do her shopping on the website, www.downeastbasics.com/.
Until April 15, when the Kennewick store opened, the website was how people in Washington, unless they made the trip to Spokane, had to shop the company's clothing line.
So why open a store in the Tri-Cities, not Seattle?
"Overall, the company tends to go into more suburban locations. They had a lot of success in Spokane, so when this location became available, they went ahead with it," Cabrera said. "High quality clothing, value priced, is something that's really popular with their fan base in suburbia."
DownEast's policy, Cabrera said, is to offer customers a boutique shopping experience by putting out new merchandise every week yet not asking them to pay high-end prices.
"The most expensive dress in the store is $50, and most clothing runs in the $20 to $30 range," Cabrera said. "Plus, there's sales on top of that."
Zimmerman believes her store will do really well.
"We had a really good first weekend. Over half of our customers already knew of DownEast from Facebook, though we had a few who had never heard of us before and were happy to find us at the mall," Zimmerman said.
The store carries women's and girls clothing in sizes from XX small to XX large in styles to appeal to teens from 16 to 18, on up to women in their mid-30s to early 40s.
To mark the store's grand opening Friday, the company is holding a weeklong "Shopping's More Fun with Your Girlfriends" giveaway.
People can register at the store until April 29 to win up to a $200 shopping spree and can choose four friends to receive a $50 gift certificate.
The drawing will be April 30.
DownEast Basics is near Sears between Payless and Vitamin World in the mall. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
The store phone number is 509-735-7322.
* For more information, go to www.facebook.com/DownEastBasics or www.downeastbasicsblog.com.