The New Shopping Destination

Allison S.

Staff Writer

After much anticipation, the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta opened on Thursday, July 18. The shopping center is a 370,000 square-foot outdoor complex on Ridgewalk Parkway in Woodstock that consists of several designer stores, some of which include Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Nike, and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.

Prior to opening day to the public, there was a special sneak preview. Hundreds of people piled into the new shopping destination on the grand opening night to shop at the new stores. Customers stood ready for the four hour evening of premiere shopping with wallets full of cash and VIP tickets in hand. Along with the ticket, shoppers were given a coupon book worth over $300 in deals for the new stores. The red carpet event was advertised as an exclusive event for a limited number of people; however, more tickets were sold than expected, and the outlet mall packed out in a matter of minutes. The parking lot filled up, and lines for stores began to form, which made the event stressful and very crowded. Senior Kennedy Reeg mentioned that she “waited for a parking spot for over two hours and finally ended up leaving without even getting to go shop.”  Others got lucky and found parking in the nearby areas and walked to the outlets just to go sit in half hour lines before stepping foot into the picked-through stores. Junior Samantha Urbaniack said, “I pulled right into a spot when I got there. I’m glad I didn’t have the same experience as some unfortunate others.” While the opening night turned out to be a bust for many, the outlets have since then gained a respectable reputation with the exception of a few factors.

The outlets are good to have close by for a day out with friends or a quick gift pick up, but the traffic is not welcomed by many living in the area. Coach Dennis Conway stated, “The only reason I haven’t gone to the new outlets is because of how much traffic there is around them.” He added, “The highway backs up so much on the weekends just because of all the cars going to and from the outlets.” On the opening day, Channel 2 Action News reported the traffic was backed up for over a mile on I-575. Not only does the southbound exit have a four way intersection, but it does not have a traffic light, causing more unnecessary traffic. Another inconvenience for the shoppers is the limited amount of available parking around the complex.  The Shoppes of Atlanta has hired a shuttling service to carry shoppers from the complex to other parking areas such as Cherokee Ford off of Woodstock Parkway, Woodstock Elementary on Rope Mill Road, and Woodstock Community Church on Rope Mill Road. The service is free and is a good alternative to circling the lot looking for the next available spot.

The outlets are more than just a small shopping center full of boutiques and no-name stores. With over forty different apparel stores, seven children’s apparels, ten eateries not including the restaurants opening on the perimeter, twenty-two footwear shops, six stores for the home, and twenty-seven other specialty stores, the Shoppes of Atlanta are considered a hot destination for shoppers all over Georgia. Some of the most popular stores among high school students are J. Crew, Love Culture, Columbia, Coach, Kate Spade, and Charlotte Russe. Physics teacher Mrs. Kelly Burke says, “I like the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta because there is good shopping and good places to eat in the mall. The other outlets in Georgia have good shopping but nowhere to eat in the area.” Restaurants that are opening around the outlets include P.F. Changs, McDonalds, and Chick-Fil-A. The Shoppes of Atlanta offer credible places to eat and plenty of stores to blow some cash.

The Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta employs approximately 1,500 people to work in retail and management of the 80-plus stores. Currently, Ann Taylor Factory and Loft, Asics, Calphalon Kitchen, Chico’s, Fossil, Jockey, J Crew, Levi’s, Love Culture, and many other stores are looking to hire. During the holiday season, the shopping center will employ roughly 800 to 1000 more positions to help with the crowds. Along with the stores in the complex, restaurants including Chick-Fil-A will be opening soon and accepting applications. Senior Ashton Tongco commented, “I was looking for a job at the beginning of summer, and I applied for a few positions at the outlets. The process was very easy and paid fairly good.”  Although many of the new stores require previous years of experience in retail or age restrictions, the outlets are still a great source for people looking for employment.

While the new complex might be considered a pain due to traffic and congestion on the highway, most would say that it is awesome to have a large shopping area in a convenient location. The Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta is located off of Ridgewalk Parkway on exit 9 and is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Go stop by today!

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