Teen girls crowded a new Mall of America pop-up store to buy souvenirs inspired by the wildly popular British boy band.
It was the closest that 10-year-old Madison McGinn and 11-year-old Maddie Tilotta had ever gotten to their British pop idols One Direction.
Posing for a photo in front of a large poster of the boy band phenomenon at Saturday’s grand opening of the Mall of America’s 1D World pop-up store, the two Lakeville girls giggled with excitement and showed off the merchandise they’d bought (with their own saved money, Mom added).
“We love One Direction,” Maddie said as she clutched a life-size cutout of one of the band’s members.
As for waiting in line for more than an hour to get into the temporary shop, “It’s totally worth it,” Madison chimed in.
As of 6 p.m. Saturday, a little over 2,000 fans, mostly teenage girls chaperoned by their patient parents, had visited the mall’s 1D World store, said William Stone, the U.S. project manager for the 1D World stores. That’s more people than when the other 1D World U.S. stores opened in New York City and Chicago, Stone said.
Some One Direction fans, or “Directioners,” as they call themselves, waited outside the mall starting at 4 a.m., with the mall opening its doors early at 5:30 a.m. so people could line up. Stone said he saw a handful of fans trying to wait inside the doors of the mall the night before.
“I don’t think there’s any other artists currently in the market that can replicate this,” Stone said.
The five-member band made up of Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan catapulted onto the music scene after competing on the British TV singing show “X Factor” in 2010. The band has more than 13.9 million Facebook fans and 10.5 million followers on Twitter.
The store, which is scheduled to be open for six weeks, is in the first-floor space near the Rotunda recently vacated by the Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living store. The 1D World store resembles the feel of an extra-large concert retail booth, with hanging posters and clothes as well as accessories and other merchandise. The $30 life-size cutouts were the hottest item Saturday.
While the unique retail swag was a drawing point for most of the fans that trekked to the store Saturday, many already had bedroom walls and school lockers full of One Direction items.
For about two hours, Jessica Franz, 12, Jenna Dombrowski, 13, and Megan Gryzwa, 13, all of Woodbury, stood in line and chatted, dressed in their One Direction T-shirts, before shopping for their own stash of band items.
When asked why they waited so long for a chance to shop in the store, the girls gave simple answers that anybody who has ever memorized all the lyrics to their favorite singer’s first album or splurged a few weeks’ worth of allowance on a couple of concert tickets can relate to.
“They’re my favorite band,” Jenna said, a sentiment echoed by the other girls. “It was really cool to have supported them.”
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495