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Visited Woodfield's RAIN with some out-of-town friends last Saturday. We had planned on hitting Blues Fest, but with the cold rain, we thought better of it. We arrived at Woodfield about 3 PM and the mall was packed! We had to drive around 20 minutes looking for a parking spot... and even then had to walk a quarter mile to get to the mall.

As expected, the RAIN was absolutely mobbed. Since I'm plum out of the "get in first" coupons, we had to wait the half hour with everybody else to get a table. We killed the time by roaming around the retail area of RAIN. They actually had Ty Beanie Babies in stock! Through talking with one of the retail guides, I learned that Woodfield got a shipment of 8,000 of the little critters last Friday. There were people two deep all the way around the BB display and people were picking them up like mad. There were two employees who looked like their only job was to bring bags of BBs out from the back room. As fast as they could fill the buckets, they would disappear. I've never actually seen anything like it in my life. 8000 times 6 bucks a pop... means I might have to revise my Woodfield Q2 retail estimate upwards.

They also had the "polo style" shirts with the RAIN characters on sale for $19.95 ($17.95 if you have the 10% off coupon that came with the annual report). Seeing as they were normally $30, I (and several of my guests) picked a few up. I'm interested to see if this is happening at all the units, or just Woodfield.

Between the BBs and the sale on the polo shirts, the registers were absolutely humming. They had four people behind the registers and I still had to stand in line behind 8 people to make my purchase. If Woodfield is their "worst" unit, well, RAIN is in darn good shape.

Oh, the food was great, as always. Service was excellent and prompt... a problem area when they first opened up. I came away feeling as bullish as ever.

-Paul Larson

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