By Amy Martinez Seattle Times Staff

By Amy Martinez
Seattle Times Staff

People began arriving as early as 7:30 this morning for the opening of The Shops at The Bravern, and within an hour, turnout topped 2,000, according to developer Schnitzer West. Officially, the shopping center was to make its debut at 10 a.m., but Schnitzer opened it up from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. for a “VIP celebration and private preview,” promising to donate $20 to charity for every attendee.

Schnitzer will donate equally to three groups: Washington Women in Need, Dress For Success and the Bellevue Schools Foundation.

“The turnout has been phenomenal,” said Mark Netherland, senior investment manager at Schnitzer. “One apparel retailer, in the first two hours, did all the sales they thought they would do for the whole day.”

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Dave Masin, VP of sales at home-furnishings store Masins, said he also was encouraged by the turnout. Masins’ new store at The Bravern its its third Seattle-area location.

“We’ve had about 600 people through our store here this morning, which is more than we’ve had in the past few weeks at both of our other stores combined,” Masin said. “It’s good to see customers again. I think we’re seeing signs of a recovery.”

Sunday, Schnitzer plans to give out 500 Dilly Bars between 3 and 4 p.m., in a nod to the Dairy Queen that used to be where The Bravern now is.

Then, as the opening-celebration finale, the Robert Cray Band performs in the parking lot across 110th Avenue Northeast from The Bravern. That’s scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m.