OTTAWA -- No announcements were needed to get crowds excited for the reopening of Zellers in Bells Corners Thursday.
The new store is one of just three remaining in Canada after HBC sold most of their Zellers outlets to the U.S. chain Target in 2011.
The company now identifies as a liquidator, featuring items on clearance from HBC's branches, Hudson's Bay and Home Outfitters. And for those curious, no, it does not have a diner.
Bells Corners BIA executive director Alex Lewis says the opening is great for the community and he hopes the business will fare well in the future.
"We're obviously very happy to have one of our largest vacant spaces filled again," he said. "We're also very happy to have one of three remaining Zellers stores in Canada located in the heart of our neighbourhood."
Lewis, who was there on opening day, described a scene of chaos with a packed parking lot and hundreds of shoppers inside.
Amanda Armstrong, a 28-year-old stay-at-home mom from Carleton Place, is among those excited to shop. Armstrong wasn't able to make it on opening day since she's recovering from emergency spine surgery, but hopes to make the trek soon.
"I've always loved Zellers," said Armstrong, who remembers shopping trips to the retailer as a child with her grandparents. "Their products, especially kids clothes, have always been great quality."
"It's a store that Canadians have known and trusted for generations," she said. "There's a sentimental value there that we latch on to."
Sarah Coates, a 30-year-old legal assistant, and her mother were grocery shopping last Saturday when a man approached them about the reopening.
"He was very, very excited to have Zellers back," she said. "I think Zellers has been a huge loss for Bells Corners."
Coates has been heavily involved in the community for years through her work with the Salvation Army. She said the location is easy to get to for seniors and young families in the area.
Coun. Rick Chiarelli was also out shopping at the new store Thursday.
"I believe I bought the first stove," he said with a laugh. "And it was a good deal!"