JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- It was a full blown celebration Thursday. Fashion lovers lined the Avenues Mall, waiting hours, to enter the brand new H&M retail store.
"I think it's huge for Jacksonville across the board," said Lindsey Vonhoven with the Avenues Mall. "It's definitely putting us on the fashion map."
It means growth and spending in the mall. But it could mean even more in the city.
"We've seen this phenomenon already in other cities. We were the first to open on the famed Fifth Avenue in Manhattan over ten years ago and now look at all of the high fashion trendy retailers that are now there existing among luxury retailers so this could definitely be the start of a good thing for Jacksonville," said H&M Spokesperson Nicole Christie.
The phenomenon may be happening already. In the fall of 2014, another top retailer will open doors in the River City. Nordstrom is building at the St Johns Town Center.
"They've been looking at our market for more than 12 years as a possible site to put a new store," said Executive Vice President of the Jax Chamber, Jerry Mallot.
Mallot says this is a huge step in the right direction, proving Jacksonville is entering the other side of an economic downturn.
"I think adding high end retailers is a real sign the economy is coming back," he said. "They wouldn't be making this commitment if they didn't feel really good about our economy."
And those stores leading the way just might bring a few more on their coat tails.
"I definitely think the addition of H&M and Nordstrom is going to peak the interest of more national brands," said Lindsey Rossman with The St Johns Town Center.