BiS: BusinessInSavannah.com - Business news for the creative coast.

Shoppers descend on Pooler for Tanger Outlets grand opening

  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News HGTV’s “Property Brothers” Jonathan and Drew Scott greet the audience for the grand opening of Tanger Outlets Savannah.
  • HGTV’s “Property Brothers” Jonathan and Drew Scott greet the audience for the grand opening ceremonies at Tanger Outlets Savannah. Steven B. Tanger, president and CEO of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc., is seated on the right.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Glitter floats in the air around the City Exchange Bell replica at the end of opening ceremonies at the Tanger Outlets Savannah.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Traffic flowing into and out of the mall was handled by private mall security as well as Pooler Police.
  • Photos by Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News Dede Dunn, left, of Bluffton found a lot of good deals on the first day of shopping at the outlet mall.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Sedawnya McCreary offers sample peanuts from the doorway of the Peanut Shop of Savannah.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Kayla Dyches performs on the aerial silks at the opening of Tanger Outlets Savannah
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - The new outlet mall is on the flight path for Savannah's airport.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Ben Carter, Chairman and founder of Ben Carter Enterprises speaks at the grand opening ceremonies at Tanger Outlets Savannah.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Mayor Mike Lamb of Pooler speaks at the grand opening ceremony at Tanger Outlets Savannah.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Pooler Mayor Mike Lamb, left, talks with Steven B. Tanger, President and CEO of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. at the opening ceremonies at Tanger Outlets Savannah
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Ben Carter is greeted by well-wishers before the start of the grand opening ceremonies at Tanger Outlets Savannah.
  • Security guard Tom Wojcik shows visitors how to use the interactive directory at Tanger Outlets Savannah.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Steven B. Tanger, center, greets guests at the opening ceremonies at Tanger Outlets Savannah.
  • Jasmine Dias, right, with First City Events, greets the little customers on opening day at Tanger Outlets Savannah.
  • Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News - Steven B. Tanger, President and CEO of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. speaks at the opening ceremony.

A blast of metallic confetti cut through the gray skies over Pooler on Thursday morning to mark the grand opening of the new Tanger Outlets Savannah, as thousands of shoppers quickly filled the parking lot.

An hourlong ribbon-cutting ceremony brought out a host of elected officials, business leaders and retail executives with roughly 200 people watching the grand opening spectacle.

See Spotted® photos of the grand opening

Nearly a half-dozen speakers thanked a laundry list of people integral to the center’s construction, including the mall’s co-developers Ben Carter and Steven Tanger.

“It’s definitely cooler in Pooler,” Carter said in a nod to the chilly weather outside as he encouraged shoppers to check out rain jackets at nearby shops.

Touting the 400,000-square-foot center’s economic impact, he said Tanger Outlets had already created 900 jobs and would generate nearly $10 million in tax revenue.

“With the opening here and the restaurants and retail that will come up around the mall, we’ll have almost 1,500 new jobs in this area, which is a fantastic thing for a community,” he said.

Steven Tanger, president and CEO of the Greensboro-based Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, said not only had they achieved their construction deadline but they had also built a “best in class facility” that “delivers a world class shopping experience to Savannah.”

“Tanger Outlets is happy to be part of the growth and excitement taking place in Pooler and Savannah,” Tanger said. “After a lot of anticipation and hard work, it’s finally time to go shopping.”

The complex is one of three new outlet centers Tanger is opening this year as the company continues its expansion. It owns and operates about 44 outlet centers across the U.S. and Canada.

 

Excited shoppers

Hundreds of shoppers trickled in earlier in the morning to line up for individual store openings such as Michael Kors and Coach. They’re among 86 stores at the mall. A long line snaked around the Nike store toward the replica lighthouse, which opened about a quarter before 10 a.m. Nike employees jumped up and down in a huddle shouting, “I believe that we can win!” followed by “Swoosh!”

A group of friends at the front of the line had just gotten off their night shift at St. Joseph’s/Candler to be first in line at the sports apparel store, scoring free headphones and $10 gift cards for their fervor.

“We got here at 8:30 a.m.,” said Seth Engelman, who stood in line with his fiancé Emily Wells. “We want to be one of the first people to buy something.”

“Just do it,” said Wells, quoting Nike’s slogan.

Behind them, middle-schooler Shane Bradshaw stood in line with his mom hoping to score some Beats by Dre headphones, admitting he had skipped class to come to the opening.

Several shoppers said they were excited that they wouldn’t have to make the trip to Tanger’s other location in Bluffton, S.C., just over the state line, now that they had one closer.

Alexandra Rodriguez and her friend, Jackie Ramirez, stood in line at Michael Kors, looking to browse the designer’s popular line of bags.

“I want to go to Vera Bradley, Pandora and Coach,” Ramirez said. “I’d rather be in traffic two minutes away from my house than travel 25 minutes somewhere else; it’s convenient.”

A touchscreen kiosk toward the front of the complex allowed shoppers to enter to win designer purses, and several stores gave incentives to the first wave of customers at their doors.

 

‘Property Brothers’

Perhaps the biggest draw Thursday morning was the chance to meet the stars of HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” designers Drew and Jonathan Scott.

Deborah Argerake, Lisa Rogers and Jessie Rosa stood at the front of the line to meet the popular home renovation duo, giddily listing why they like the show.

“They’re twins, they’re 6-foot-4 and they’re gorgeous,” said Argerake, who recently moved from Germany to Guyton and is renovating her own 6,000-square-foot home. “I brought my tool bag for them to sign.”

“Their personalities are opposite, and they feed off each other, and that’s what makes them entertaining,” Rogers said.

Although Pooler officials had warned of possible traffic delays along Interstate 95 at the Pooler Parkway interchange, cars moved freely on and off the interstate and in and out of the mall for most of the morning and into the afternoon. About 90 percent of the mall’s 2,700-space parking lot was filled by 11 a.m.

Police were stationed at the first few stoplights near the entrance to the mall to direct traffic as needed.

Pooler Mayor Mike Lamb, speaking before the ribbon cutting, said he appreciated Tanger and Carter bringing their vision to the city, which has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade.

“This has given us something in our city to be very, very proud of,” Lamb said. “We are definitely now a destination spot. We’re a place where people want to come shop, come eat and come have a good time.”

Carter said it was his goal to reflect the architectural and natural beauty of the Coastal Georgia region, including the lighthouse, bell tower and ornamental fountains.

“Most important is I hope you think it’s a pretty place to visit, to bring your family and friends,” Carter told the crowd. “These projects can change lives and communities.”

Comments