By  on July 20, 2007

BOSTON — Even though its first store doesn't open here until September, Nordstrom already has 3,000 credit card holders in Greater Boston.

About 500 people attended a downtown cocktail party Tuesday night to toast the retailer's arrival, which kicks off with the opening of a 144,000- square-foot store on Sept. 7 at the Natick Collection in Natick, Mass. The new luxury retail development, about 20 miles west of Boston, will also house the region's second Neiman Marcus.

Nordstrom plans to open three more stores over three years in Massachusetts: Burlington Mall in Burlington, Northshore Mall in Peabody, and South Shore Mall in Braintree, three of the area's prominent regional malls that form a ring around Boston. The sites were former Filene's stores.

"We are overwhelmed," Pete Nordstrom, president of merchandising and a fourth-generation family member, told a crowd that lined up afterward for photo ops. "We've wanted to come here for so long. Thank you for supporting us from afar."

Nordstrom told WWD suburban openings wouldn't preclude the retailer from moving quickly on a downtown site if one should become available.

A year ago, when the former Filene's flagship was for sale downtown, Nordstrom said he reviewed the opportunity.

The merger between the former Federated Department Stores Inc. (renamed Macy's Inc.) and May Department Stores Co., which shuttered the Filene's business, paved the way for Nordstrom to open up 100,000-plus-square-foot spaces in productive regional malls. The Seattle-based retailer looked for Boston area space for 25 years, the company said in 2006 when it announced it had inked several leases. Many Boston customers drove to the store in Providence, R.I.

The decision to spread store openings over several years (Burlington in March 2008, Northshore in spring 2009 and South Shore in spring 2010) gives the company time to promote store managers from within, Nordstrom said. There will not be a Boston area buying office.

"I know we'll make mistakes at first, but hopefully people will give us the feedback we need to do better," he said. "We find people really responding to the higher taste level of our assortment. We try not to underestimate any customers."Vogue columnist Andre Leon Talley, who had spent a day admiring Meissen birds and other decorative objects at the Museum of Fine Arts, turned up to support Nordstrom as did Isabel and Ruben Toledo. Ruben Toledo illustrates Nordstrom's fall Vogue ad campaign and Isabel Toledo's first collection for Anne Klein will be sold at Nordstrom.

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