By Della Hasselle and Nicole Bode
SOHO —Trendy SoHo clothing store Hollister has reportedly been forced to shut its heralded flagship location because of bedbugs.
The storefront at Broadway between Houston and Prince Streets is closed indefinitely while crews eliminate the creepy crawlies that had been "affecting certain isolated areas of the store," the Wall Street Journal reported.
Calls to the store Thursday were greeted with the recorded message, "Hey, and thanks for calling Epic Hollister in SoHo. Our store is currently closed, and will reopen soon."
Gothamist quoted an anonymous employee as saying that the bedbug problems started three weeks ago, but complaints by employees were ignored until Wednesday.
The employee also told the website employee had to cope with bites and one found a bedbug exoskeleton on her Hollister hoodie, but the company still kept the store open.
A company spokeswoman had no comment on the matter, or whether customers are at risk of infestation because of clothing purchased at the store.
Hollister, which is owned by Abercrombie and Fitch, opened with a splash last summer and has earned a devout following since then.
"I really thought Abercrombie on 5th Avenue was heaven. That was until I got to Hollister," user Odile D wrote in a Yelp review, "This Hollister made me fall in love all over again, but this would honestly be the only Hollister I would buy stuff from again."
The Department of Health said in a statement that "anyone who has had an infestation knows it can be stressful and unpleasant but while bedbugs are a nuisance, they do not present a health risk or spread disease."
The Health Department told the AP that private companies are not required to tell the city when they find bedbugs.
A DOH fact sheet warns New Yorkers to "never resell or donate infested furniture or clothing."
SoHo shoppers reacted with horror to news of the bedbug infestation.
"What is there to say other than, yuck,” said Andre Pheoret, 52, from New Jersey.