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Welcome back Zellers: Cambridge location opens amid wave of nostalgia

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The resurrection of Zellers is officially underway with the Cambridge location opening its doors to eager shoppers who lined up ahead of the store's official reopening.

Zellers said its first 12 stores opened on Thursday, including nine in Ontario.

The outlets are located within Hudson's Bay department stores and feature an assortment of private-label products, including clothing, toys, and home items.

MORE: Here are the locations of the first 12 new Zellers stores

The company has also launched a new Zellers e-commerce website, with all items online and in-store featuring so-called rounded pricing, so for example $5 rather than $4.99 or $5.49.

Most of the original Zellers stores were shut down a decade ago but there’s been a wave of nostalgia for the brand amid rising inflation and demand for affordable goods.

GRAND OPENING

Upwards of 50 people could be seen lining up inside the Cambridge Centre Thursday morning for the grand opening.

“This is so fantastic,” shopper Mike Ashkewe told CTV News. “I never would have expected Zellers to come back.”

The merchandise was bringing back memories for many customers who were eager to experience it again.

“25 years ago my mom bought clothes for me [here] when I was a baby,” said Bristi Deb. “She is obsessed with Zellers. At the first sight of the store opening I had to come in, and today I am buying things for my son.”

A DJ played music for the crowd as they waited for the doors to open at 10 a.m.

Most were impressed with what they saw inside.

“I love what they have done, this is fantastic,” said Kenlyn Hughson, who came from Flamborough. “I will be here so much.”

Her first purchase was a $16 serving tray.

Hughson was so excited for the return of Zellers she even started a fan page on Instagram.

Billy Geroux brought his kids on their first Zellers shopping trip.

“Some prices are a bit pricey, some ain’t bad. But can’t really complain, right?”

The Cambridge store also had a few modern twists, including selfie stations, Zellers-branded clothing and lots of pictures of Zeddy the Teddy.

Roy Bright brought his own piece of memorabilia.

“This is an original Zellers bag that we had from Waterloo, Conestoga Mall,” he told CTV News. “It must be at least 25 years old. I found it in a drawer. I got so excited and I told myself I have to take this to Cambridge on Thursday.”

Roy Bridge, of Waterloo, ON, brought his 25-year-old reusable Zellers bag to the store's grand reopening at the Cambridge Centre on March 23, 2023. (Dan Lauckner/CTV News Kitchener)

One thing Roy missed, though, was the iconic diner.

While it was not present at the opening, a Zellers Diner on Wheels will be rolling into Cambridge on Saturday.

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