By Madina Toure
At least 400 people came to Fresh Meadows Sunday to check out a TJ Maxx store that opened in a former Barnes & Noble site.
Located at 176-60 Union Turnpike, the store held its grand opening from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The TJ Maxx department store chain has more than 1,000 outlets nationwide. The Barnes & Noble that used to occupy the space closed at the end of December.
Behind one of the store’s cash registers, there is a large sign with a gold background saying “maxx fresh meadows” in red-beaded letters.
The store has two floors, with merchandise such as suitcases, bags and shoes on the main floor, while women’s and men’s clothing, as well as cookware, are on the lower level. The store’s business hours are Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
St. Albans resident Yassmin Powell, 36, came to the store opening with her son, Jerome Hawkins, 9. She said she ended up buying more items than she anticipated.
“I had a great experience,” Powell said. “I came in here for tablecloths and candles, but I ended up buying clothes, outfits.”
Jerome said he plans to come to the store often.
“They have a lot of toys and they have good clothes,” the boy said.
Fresh Meadows resident Sabina Hai said the store has many items at reasonable prices and that it is nicely decorated.
“I’m glad it’s in my neighborhood,” Hai said. “Anytime I can stop by.”
Jamaica resident Andrea Lewis, 25, said she appreciates having a TJ Maxx store in her area.
“It’s good because it’s in the area,” Lewis said. “I like that it’s local. It’s local and we always shop at TJ Maxx so it’s fine.”
Community Board 8 member Mike Sidell said the store is currently negotiating to make the adjacent parking garage accessible to store employees and customers.
He wished the store success but noted that there are some people who miss the Barnes & Noble store.
“I have friends who are very sad about the closing of the Barnes & Noble because this was the larger store,” Sidell said.
In November 2014, Barnes & Noble announced it would close its Fresh Meadows store at the end of December after 10 years of operation because negotiations to renew its lease failed, despite an online petition seeking to save the store. The bookseller recently shuttered its remaining Queens stores in Bay Terrace and Forest Hills.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour