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COLUMN: New Gabe’s is a discount lover’s dream

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Jasmine Davis (left) and her daughter Brianna Mitchell shop for clothing during Wednesday’s soft opening at Gabe’s in the Spotsylvania Crossing Shopping Center.  / Photo by Peter Cihelka

Jasmine Davis (left) and her daughter Brianna Mitchell shop for clothing during Wednesday’s soft opening at Gabe’s in the Spotsylvania Crossing Shopping Center. / Photo by Peter Cihelka

SAVVY Fredericksburg-area shoppers have a new place to hunt for bargains.

Discount fashion retailer Gabriel Brothers Inc. will have the grand opening of its newest Gabe’s prototype store at 8 a.m. today in the former Giant Food building at Spotsylvania Crossing Shopping Center on State Route 3.

Manager Kevin Stinnie said he was thrilled when he found out when the celebration, which will feature special events and giveaways, would be held.

“I said to them, ‘Are you aware that it’s tax-free weekend in Virginia, because we have stores in other states.’ It’s a perfect storm.”

Gabe’s specializes in

selling brand-name

merchandise for less, including clothing, shoes and school supplies, which are on the tax-free list. The footwear department, which Stinnie said is his favorite, has colorful Nike sneakers priced at $64.99, for example. That’s about $20 less than the full retail price, according to the sticker on the box.

The store’s 56,000 square feet of showroom space is a perfect fit for Gabe’s, Stinnie said during a media tour before the store opened its doors to shoppers on Wednesday.

“It gives us the opportunity to hone in on a lot of things. We have something for everyone—even your pet.”

Bright-blue overhead signs make it easy for customers to find the departments they’re looking for. These include ladies, juniors, lingerie, men’s and children’s apparel, along with accessories, handbags, bath and beauty products, home décor and housewares.

There is also a selection of clogs and brightly patterned scrubs for medical professionals, and a seasonal section that’s currently filled with back-to-school and dorm room items.

Shipments arrive twice

a week, and include such brand names as Calvin Klein, Jones New York, Under Armour and Skinnygirl Solutions Shapewear. There’s also Emeril and Giada cookware and Melissa & Doug toys for young children.

Stinnie said that Gabe’s

is big on customer service.

It has sales people in each department, and 10 permanent registers and six temporary ones that will likely remain through the holiday shopping season.

Shoppers wind their way through waist-high shelves stocked with snacks to reach the permanent registers, each of which has a numbered sign over it that lights up when the cashier is available.

Gabe’s provides a link to a customer experience survey at the bottom of each receipt, and has used the information gleaned from comments to make such improvements as enlarging changing rooms and providing plenty of clothing racks and a seat.

The Spotsylvania store has 14 of these rooms for women and five for men. Two of the rooms are handicapped accessible.

James and Arthur Gabriel founded Gabriel Brothers in 1961, and opened their first store in Morgantown, W.Va. The company now has 38 stores under the Gabe’s and Gabriel Brothers brands. The one in Spotsylvania is its second location in Virginia, and employs about 150 people.

Gabriel Brothers also has 61 stores operating as Rugged Wearhouse, including the one in Westwood Shopping Center.

Today’s grand opening will include a ribbon cutting and comments from CEO Ken Seipel, free breakfast, a free Gabe’s T-shirt to the first 200 customers and face painting for children. There will also be a drawing for $50 every 15 minutes between

8 a.m. and noon today, and hourly $50 giveaways throughout the day on


Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407