Yesterday was the day many Ottawa-area retail enthusiasts were waiting for. The Tanger Outlet Mall in Kanata opened its doors amid much fanfare and ensuing chaos.
If you made it to the Palladium Drive location before 9:00am, you likely missed the traffic and parking mayhem. Many excited shoppers arriving later experienced backlogged traffic on the 417, backed up off-ramps and overflowing parking lots.
Cars were parked haphazardly everywhere within walking distance of the new retail centre: on Minto lands across the street, on side streets in the new adjacent development, in the Canadian Tire Centre parking lots and anywhere in between.
The outlet mall itself was not initially crowded despite the chaos in the parking lot. Prior to the 9:30am opening, lines formed outside of popular stores offering special deals to the first customers to walk in.
For example, the Nine West store offered $50 gift cards to the first 100 customers. Generally speaking, the crowds were manageable and even relatively pleasant. In the early hours of the opening, depending on what stores shoppers visited, the wait for a fitting room or to pay was relatively short.
That quickly changed as more people filed into the open concept shopping centre. Lines began to form inside stores and telecommunications issues like lack of Internet made it difficult for some stores to process electronic payments.
While walking about and waiting in lines, the muttered discontent of fellow shoppers could be heard amidst the sounds of cash registers raking in what must have been significant opening day sales numbers. Complaints ranged from the parking fiasco to long lines at the cash to having to wait in line for a free gift. Perhaps these people were under some sort of misunderstanding about what an opening day at a discount retail mall would be like?
Despite previous reports that a number of stores would not be ready to open, most stores were full of freshly stocked merchandise and smiling staff. Construction workers were still on site working on vacant stores (at Mexx and Nestle Toll House, for example) and prior to the opening, staff were sweeping and cleaning to make sure the stores were pristine when they opened the doors.
In particular, it should be noted that the retail staff on hand at the grand opening were very pleasant, helpful and laid-back despite the many challenges of a grand opening.
Overall, the new stores at the Tanger Outlet Mall provided a mediocre selection of goods with decent prices. The deals were not spectacular and depending on your level of patience and time of arrival, they may or may not have been worth the traffic and parking challenges outside, or the lineups inside at certain stores and at guest services.
One thing is for certain – it’s nice to have some additional employers and retail choices in the Stittsville-Kanata area.
Have you been to the outlets yet? Tell us what you thought in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org