A crowd of several dozens gathered at a new Burlington Coat Factory in Hamden on Friday to celebrate the store’s grand opening.

To celebrate the awaited opening, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 9:30 a.m. in front of the new store. The ceremony included speeches from the store manager and the regional Vice President of the Burlington stores, Cindy Kurja. Following their speeches, crowds rushed into the department store, which sells products ranging from coats, shoes and accessories to furniture, toys, travel gear and more.

“Giving the customers here the opportunity to get great merchandise at a great price, that’s one of the most important things we do,” Kurja said in an interview with the News.

Kurja added that she believes the opening will be positive for the local community and that Burlington’s main focus is on “value and quality.”

The new Burlington Coat Factory is located near 2300 Dixwell Ave., at the Hamden Mart, a popular strip mall. It replaces another department store, The Bon-Ton. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. announced last year that it would close its Hamden location on Jan. 31, 2017. This closing affected approximately 61 employees, but about 75 associates have since been hired for the new store.

Residents seemed excited about the new opening, eagerly perusing the aisles and merchandise. Hamden local Susan Thomas explained that the Burlington Coat Factory is her favorite store and that she always enjoys the products she purchases there. Another customer praised the shop’s open layout, adding that in her opinion it was a “great location, great store.”

To complement the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the new Burlington Coat Factory hosted a “Family Fun Day” on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The store provided a DJ, popcorn and activities for children and also gave away seven $25 gift cards, one $250 gift card and Burlington’s signature shopping totes to the first 500 customers of the day.

Also in honor of the opening, Burlington Coat Factory presented two notable donations to the community. First, on Friday morning, the store donated thousands of units of brand new merchandise to the Family Centered Services of Connecticut, based in New Haven. Family CT is a nonprofit that works to create nurturing and safe spaces for all families. Second, the company will donate $10,000 next week to Dunbar Hill School, a local public elementary school in the area where 46.1 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch, as compared to the state average of 40.2 percent. Furthermore, the school’s test scores are generally lower than the state or district average.

The chain has been growing ever since it opened the first Burlington Coat Factory outlet in 1974. According to Kurja, 25 new stores have opened each year, and the company aims to open 50 new stores in 2018. In 2016, for the first time Burlington Coat Factory was added to the Fortune 500, a list of the most profitable corporations in the country.

The Hamden Mart is located on Dixwell Avenue, easily accessible to Yale students by the CT Transit D bus. The Hamden Mart features other notable businesses, such as Walmart, Starbucks, Marshall’s, Bob’s and Jo-Ann, a fabric retailer. Until 2015, Quinnipiac University had a shuttle run to Dixwell Avenue.

Isabel Bysiewiczisabel.bysiewicz@yale.edu