Nordstrom's Fundraiser Draws Crowd

Renee Iseke
Renee Iseke
Pete Nordstrom
Pete Nordstrom
Jean Rolles
Jean Rolles

ALA MOANA (KHNL) -- Nordstrom will soon open its doors at Ala Moana.

And Wednesday night's was all about helping the new community they're about to become a part of

It also served as a huge fundraiser.

This is a moment shopaholics have been waiting here for -- Nordstrom's debut at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.  Their opening isn't until Friday, but celebrations are already in full swing.

The turnout is unbelievable.  2,500 people packed the store.  They each paid $150 to get a sneak peek of this latest edition to hawaii's largest shopping center.

Music, pupus, and red carpet treatment - nordstrom dazzled guests at its opening gala with three levels of pure shopping pleasure.

"This is just such a beautiful store.  Everything you could need, I think.  We haven't even gotten past the shoe department yet," said Renee Iseke, customer.

And shoes are Nordstrom's trademark.  At this store, it's shoe heaven. aAd to add a local feel -- creations from local designers, like Fighting Eel.  But customers say it's not just about Nordstrom's clothing line; it's also the experience.  A gelato bar and nail studio are both first for the retail giant.

"It's pretty thrilling, actually. We've got a lot of stores, and each time you open one it's exciting, but I think what makes this special is it's been a long time in the making," said Pete Nordstrom, merchandising president.

Amid the gala's glamour and glitz is a good cause.  100% of ticket sales benefits three local organizations, including Hawaii Theatre Center.

"We really appreciate Nordstrom's feeling that they want to do something for the community with their opening, so we're glad to be beneficiaries of that," said Jean Rolles, Hawaii Theatre Center.

This is Nordstrom's first store outside of the mainland, despite opening in the midst of a recession. Based on Wednesday night's crowd, the Nordstrom family says they're not worried.

Nordstrom says Wednesday night's event raised nearly $400,000.  That will be split between the Hawaii Theater Center, HUGS and Bishop Museum.