Oct. 22--At last, hungry outlet shoppers will have a food court to get some reinforcements.
The lack of a food court so far has been a turn off for some shoppers who have checked out Taubman Prestige Outlets in Chesterfield. But it is finally set to open on Friday. The three eateries will be Taviani Pizza, Tokyo Sans, and Vera Asian.
When the outlet center first opened in early August, mall officials said at the time that they hoped to have the food court open within four to six weeks.
Colleen O'Neill, the center's general manager, acknowledged that it took a little longer than anticipated to get it open because of the extra build-out that food vendors require. But she said she's happy that the eateries will be open before the center's Halloween festivities -- and more importantly, Black Friday.
"Our big goal was to get that open in a timely fashion before the holidays," she said.
In the meantime, food trucks that have parked next to the center have helped fill in some of the gaps, especially on the weekends. And the Auntie Anne's at the center has had long lines when the mall has been especially busy.
While Taubman was the first of the two outlet centers in Chesterfield to open, it's been slower to open some of its stores. It had 47 of 70 stores open on day 1.
But now others are beginning to open, too. A Juicy Couture Outlet will open next week (Oct. 30). And a Solstice Sunglass Outlet opened last week. Also coming this fall is Nadoz Euro Bakery and a Gamestop. And one more new retailer will be announced in the coming weeks.
"There's still more to come," O'Neill said, noting that other retailers are planning to open in the spring and into the summer.
The competing center -- St. Louis Premium Outlets, which is fully leased with 90 stores -- seems to have initially gained more traction than Taubman's center, which is 80 percent committed and leased. But O'Neill said that retailers have been reporting strong sales and have been happy with the business so far.
As for Black Friday, she said some of the stores in the center will be opening at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving night -- two hours earlier than Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and many local shopping malls. And the rest of the stores at Taubman's center will open at midnight.
In the meantime, St. Louis Premium Outlets is moving forward with phase two of its development. It's planning a 79,000-square foot addition on the north end of the center to make space for about 20 more stores.