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The Yankee Express

Xpressly Yours ... a letter from the editor

Store Manager Jennifer Laramee didn’t mind that the ribbon cutting for the new Old Navy store in Sturbridge had to be held inside on a cold morning in February. A longtime employee of Gap Inc., she proudly wears the company’s product line.

Old Navy 'clothedʼ in excitement for opening of Sturbridge store

Inside the new Old Navy store in the Center at Hobbs Brook on Charlton Road in Sturbridge on the first Saturday in February all of the merchandise was arranged just so and there were tote bags with coupons inside for customers to use at the sales counter.
Jen Laramee who is the store’s manager was in an ebullient mood after taking part in a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“You look like a walking advertisement for Old Navy,” Ms. Laramee was told, as she took a few minutes to talk about the grand opening.
“Head-to-toe, all the time!” she said.
Ms. Laramee is a veteran with the company, which is part of the Gap Inc. family.
“Twenty years, out of high school,” she said. “I worked in Connecticut before. I live in North Brookfield but grew up in Spencer.”
She loves being within easy driving distance of work.
As Deb Compton of Old Navy Communications explained to me in an email prior to February 4th, the Sturbridge store is part of a company strategy focusing on “new stores in smaller markets. Last year the brand opened twenty-five new company-owned stores with approximately twenty-three stores planned in 2023.”
The Old Navy store, which is a reincarnation of one that occupied the grounds in the past, adds to the already established mix of businesses at The Blackstone Retail Group’s Center at Hobbs Brook. These include Walmart, Marshalls, Michaels, Staples, Petco and Stop & Shop, making the plaza one of the largest open-air retail sites in the Mass Pike-Rt. 20-Rt. 84 area.
Ms. Laramee and her staff are proud of Old Navy’s reputation as a provider of quality casual clothing to consumers.
“You can truly be a customer here your whole life, with the Gap family,” she said. “When I tell people I work for Old Navy it’s ‘wow,’ never a ‘eew!’ To be part of the Sturbridge community” with such attractions as Old Sturbridge Village, shops, restaurants, hotels and tourist destinations in Central Massachusetts “is very exciting.”
Construction on the new store began in the late summer of 2022 and personnel moved in during the month of January.
The culture is “denim and this is where lot of our fashion comes from,” she said.
Ms. Compton points out that “we’re also the first value retailer to integrate the shopping experience by offering the broadest assortment of women’s sizes in stores and online, with no price difference.”
Old Navy thinks of its approach as “democracy of style and service.”
“We are creating magical moments and we’re happy to execute those moments,” Ms. Laramee said.

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.