Thursday, November 22, 2007

prime outlets

BIRCH RUN, Mich. -- Prime Outlets at Birch Run, Michigan's Largest Outlet Mall, will open its doors at midnight on Thanksgiving night and stay open for 22 hours until 10 p.m. on Saturday. Visitors to the outlet mall will be able to shop at all the stores and even some of the restaurants will be open for those who get hungry.

This will be the second year that Prime Outlets is opening at midnight. In 2006, over 25,000 people shopped at the outlet mall from midnight to 8 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving. The outlet mall expects heavier traffic this year.

"Do your homework so you know where to shop," said Phil Whitsel, marketing manager of Prime Outlets at Birch Run. "Go to and download early bird coupons. All stores will be open."

Some of the hottest deals for the midnight opening includes Aeropostale, which is offering 50 percent off the entire store. With a minimum purchase of $100, you will get a free teddy bear. Bid Dogs is giving shoppers half off all graphic tees. The J.Crew factory store is giving shoppers a discount of 50 percent off clearance merchandise. All handbags are 50 percent off at Nautralizer until noon. Adidas is offering a 25 percent discount off the entire store from midnight to 10 a.m.

For the first time, 13 restaurants will be open for shoppers who get a craving for food during the same time. Restaurants that will be open during the midnight opening include: A&W, Arby's, Beijing Express, Big Boy, Bob Evans, Culver's, Dairy Queen, The Exit Restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, Quizno's, Starbucks, UNO Chicago Grill, Wendy's. Those restaurants are either on the premise of the outlet mall or not far from it.

"They did not open last year," said Whitsel. "We partnered with them early on this year."

The Birch Run outlet mall has created three alternate routes to make it easier to get there:

If you are coming south from I-75, Take exit 131 at Clio and turn left (west). Take a right at the first light (Linden) and head north approximately five miles. Linden turns into Beyer Rd. and runs right into the shopping center.
If coming south from Dixie Highway, Turn left onto Burt Rd. just south of Birch Run and head west across I-75. Turn right onto Beyer Rd. at the light and head north, which will run right into the shopping center.
If coming from the north from I-75 or Dixie Highway, Take exit 144 off of I-75 at Bridgeport and turn left (east) onto Dixie Hwy. Follow Dixie Hwy. east/south to Birch Run. Cross Birch Run Rd. and continue on Dixie Hwy. to Burt Rd. (less than mile) and turn right (west). Cross I-75 and turn right (north) at the light onto Beyer Rd. which will run right into the shopping center.
"We had some issues with congestion last year. We have alternate routes just in case," the marketing manager said.

Extra parking will be available at the Birch Run Expo Center on the north side of Beyer Road. Shoppers will be able to park there starting at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. They can take FREE a shuttle bus to the outlet mall and line up at their favorite stores prior to the midnight opening. Prime Outlets will be operating three additional shuttle buses to help shoppers get around, Whitsel said.

Polo Ralph Lauren has expanded by 3,000 square feet. The store has added a children's department within its store.

The Birch Run outlet mall joins 10 other Prime Outlets locations opening at midnight on the day after Thanksgiving
Prime Outlets In Kenosha Opening At Midnight Black Friday
Ty Milburn
Katie DeLong

KENOSHA - You might remember the scene from last year at the Prime Outlet Mall in Kenosha County.

They opened with special deals at midnight for black Friday shoppers, and traffic backed up out of the parking lot, and onto I-94.

You might remember the traffic last year. Thousands of outlet shoppers clogged up portions of I-94, turning the highway into a parking lot.

"They were standing in line at the stores to get into the store, it was crazy," Crystal Hall said.

Claudia Aguilar was one of those shoppers, and she'll be back at it again Friday at midnight.

"Yea I have to take advantage of the thanksgiving sales," Aguilar said.

Some wonder is it worth it to brave the traffic and fight the crowds?

Retailers sure think so.

"For midnight madness we do everything at 75 percent off, excluding the watches, but everything in the store is 75 percent off," Jim Trovo of Ultra Diamonds said.

Police are ready this year too. The sheriff's department and Pleasant Prairie police will have more patrols on the road.

"We're encouraging our guests to take alternate routes, use back routes instead of the highway if they can and get here early. People are here by 8 and 10 at night," Darcy Kennelly of Prime Outlets said.

That's good advice, but some shoppers have other plans come midnight.

"I'd rather be sleeping after a good meal," Outi Francis said.
JAMES CITY — - Adventuresome shoppers who want to hit Prime Outlets at midnight will get a little help finding parking this year.

A bus shuttle service from Warhill High School and Warhill Sports Complex has been set up to take shoppers in and out of the James City shopping mecca, which first ventured into midnight opening for Black Friday shopping last year and saw some massive traffic and parking problems.

The night was highlighted by at least three car accidents in the parking lot. Traffic on Richmond Road backed up southward to the Williamsburg city limits, and to Route 199 and Interstate 64 northward. A few eager shoppers avoided the jam-packed lot by simply parking illegally on the median strip on Route 60.

To make matters worse for this year's day-after-Thanksgiving foray, some of the off-site parking spaces available last year were erased by construction as Prime Outlets starts to expand onto the neighboring property formerly belonging to Comfort Inn.

The park-and-ride option from Warhill High and the sports complex adds roughly 1,500 spaces for drivers, who can take one of three full-size buses to Ewell Station, which sits adjacent to the outlet center. The buses will start at 8 p.m. today and will run to 11:30 p.m. Friday, said Kathie Strauss, marketing manager for Prime Outlets.

This nearly doubles the available parking for Black Friday, in which retailers across the country offer huge discounts in a kick-off to the holiday shopping season. Combined with parking available at the Ewell Station site and a nearby bowling alley, Prime Outlets will offer just under 2,000 parking spaces on-site.

There will be about 20 officers from James City and York county police forces and the James City County-Williamsburg Sheriff's Department, all paid for by Prime Outlets. They will mostly keep traffic moving and will have those who park illegally towed.

The officers will also look out for disorderly shoppers. Last year, police were called to the Timberland outlet around 12:30 a.m. to deal with an unruly crowd. The James City County Fire Department will also have a contingent on the scene for fire or medical needs.

Signs warning about towing have already been posted in the Chisel Run neighborhood, for which the only access street is near the outlet center. More signs and traffic cones will be placed in the area to keep the small road open so emergency trucks can get through, said James City Police Chief Emmett Harmon.

"We're hoping for the best, but we're planning for the worst," Harmon said.

Harmon said signs would also be put up at Prime Outlets as soon as the on-site lots fill up, and he hoped people won't ignore them and drive in anyway, stubbornly looking for a spot.

One Black Friday rookie will be Powhatan Supervisor Jim Icenhour, who was the sole vote against Prime Outlet's expansion in purchasing the Ewell Station property and one of two "no" votes when the outlets sought to expand on the site of the former Comfort Inn. In both cases, among his concerns was that not enough parking was available in the plans, he said.

Of special anxiety for Icenhour was the Black Friday logjam and spillover. So tonight the supervisor plans to stand in the parking lot and evaluate it himself. "I always hear about how bad it is, but I've never seen it," Icenhour said. "I want to see the magnitude of the problem firsthand. (The shuttle) is a positive step — I just want to see how this plays out."

Getting there
ahead to Black Friday - the biggest shopping day of the year.

And one shopping center is making sure it stays ahead of the game this year.

The Prime Outlets in Grove City plans to open at Midnight on Friday like they did last year, but this time around, they will be ready for an onslaught of traffic.

A year ago, thousands of shoppers from Pittsburgh, Erie, Youngstown, Cleveland - even Canada, waited in traffic for three hours in some cases just to get there.

But on Black Friday, State troopers will be guiding traffic on I-79 and controlling traffic signals.

Additionally, the shopping center has 3,000 off-site parking spaces with security, lighting and continuous shuttle service for shoppers.

In 2006, officials say 90,000 shoppers packed the outlets that day.

(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserv


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