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Fresno, CA Close to one-hundred people were bused from the south Valley to Fashion Fair.

Action News reporter John-Thomas Kobos is live outside the store with why management thought bringing these shoppers here was a good idea.

Amanda, 70 shoppers from Visalia and as far south as Porterville visited this Macy's for 5 hours Saturday. Managers wanted to give these new customers a taste of what's to come this fall when Macy's takes over the Gottschalks store at Visalia mall.

One by one these eager south valley shoppers filed out of charter buses…many are curious to see if Macy's at Fashion Fair has what it takes to replace Gottschalks, when it goes out of business.

Carol Teague: "I think we were all frightened when they said Gottschalks was closing."

In this crowd of nearly 100, Carol Green from Visalia emerged with a smile on her face. She is ecstatic a new retail company is working to earn her business.

"It just sent a ripple of joy through the ole Gottschalks fans," said Green.

These shoppers each paid a $15 bus reservation fee which Macy's turned around and gave as a $15 shopping coupon.

Macy's store manager Rick Earnest said this rough economy has forced Macy's to become inventive at attracting new customers.

"Getting them here, saving them obviously the expense of gas, and offering them a terrific time today and special discounts," said Earnest.

Macy's is not the only retail store moving into area Gottschalks locations. Forever 21 is taking over some space as well.

Fresno economist Henry Nishimoto said loyal Gottschalks customers should easily adjust between the two.

"It's almost a logical sequence if you think about it. And like I said, Gottschalks has already lost a major market share to both Forever 21 and Macy's," said Nishimoto.

Carol Teague invited her friends for a sleepover and then planned this shopping trip. She is familiar with the Macy's brand and is looking forward to its arrival in Visalia.

"Besides Gottschalks this is the only place you can really go to find your make-up, the brands that we like," said Teague.

Macy's management said more trips could be planned based on Saturday's success. The Visalia store should open in Fall.

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