Duluth Trading Co. opened the doors to its first store in Georgia on Friday morning, celebrating the grand opening in Kennesaw with a ribbon-cutting and a professional lumberjack show for its customers.

Store manager Corey Beidler said Duluth Trading Co., an American workwear company, already has a large following in Georgia through its website, where it sells many of its clothing and other products. Spokesperson Rachel Sweet said that while many retail stores have started to focus more on their online stores, Duluth Trading Co. is currently doing the opposite — rapidly opening retail stores in order to meet their customers’ needs.

“We’re very happy to bring our products and our customer service to this area,” Beidler said. “We have so much solution-based stuff, especially for the summer and the summer heat that we’re going to get down here. It’s going to give a lot of options for people to kind of keep doing their activities and functions and work.”

Employees were joined by Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling on Friday morning, who said he was excited to see the business have a presence in the city.

After Beidler cut the ribbon, customers who had been waiting for up to an hour in the parking lot outside of the store were able to go inside and begin shopping.

Store associates handed out free popcorn and offered free coffee to its customers while they shopped and explored the new store.

Customers also got to enjoy a live, professional lumberjack show hosted outside in the store’s parking lot by DL Weatherhead Timberworks Lumberjack Show, a company which hosts lumberjack shows around the country. The company is sponsored by Duluth Trading Co. and performs for every new store grand opening.

During the show, lumberjacks Nick Hastedt and Andrew O’Connell competed against each other in several head-to-head events, including ax throwing, single buck and underhand chop while Duluth customers cheered for one or the other to win. Hastedt walked away with the win, and customers were able to pick up the leftover wood chips to take home after the show.

Beidler said that the company has opened 10 to 11 stores in the past year and plan to open another 15 this year.

“Our stuff is very unique and function-focused,” Beidler said. “You can read about it all you want online, but when you get into a store and you can touch it, feel it, try it on, squat, bend over in it, you get that opportunity to see what it’s really doing.”

Many customers agreed that they enjoyed being able to come to the store rather than simply order online, including one couple who drove for more than an hour from their home in Lilburn to visit the store during its grand opening.

Scott and Lindsay Stoudenmire said they have been ordering products from Duluth’s online store for years, but they were happy to be able to come to the store and try out other products that they never would have purchased online.

“The customers, when we crack open those doors, it’s that,” Beidler said. “‘We’ve been ordering online for years. We’re so happy you’re here. Oh my gosh now all of our friends see what we’re talking about.’ It’s cool. It’s almost like a quiet following until we open up, and then everyone shows off all of their Duluth stuff.”

Beidler said the company typically hires 30 to 40 employees for each store team, and he said the new location is still accepting applications.

The store is Duluth’s 55th location nationwide, and is at 860 Cobb Place Blvd. in Kennesaw near Barrett Parkway. Store hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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