Shoppers hunt for bargains at Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Shoppers hunt for bargains at Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass

Shoppers on opening day at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass. (Source: Doug Druschke, WAVE 3 News) Shoppers on opening day at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass. (Source: Doug Druschke, WAVE 3 News)
Employees of the Nike store rally before the grand opening. (Source: Doug Druschke, WAVE 3 News) Employees of the Nike store rally before the grand opening. (Source: Doug Druschke, WAVE 3 News)
A like of opening day shoppers outside the Coach store. (Source: Doug Druschke, WAVE 3 News) A like of opening day shoppers outside the Coach store. (Source: Doug Druschke, WAVE 3 News)
a mother and child walking near the Converse store. (Source: Doug Druschke, WAVE 3 News) a mother and child walking near the Converse store. (Source: Doug Druschke, WAVE 3 News)
Parking spaces remained available on opening day at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass. (Source: Doug Druschke: WAVE 3 News) Parking spaces remained available on opening day at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass. (Source: Doug Druschke: WAVE 3 News)
SIMPSONVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass have officially opened. After years of talk and planning, the public got its first crack at the new stores in Simpsonville.

On the first morning for the new outlet mall, it was crowded but definitely not the traffic jam that many expected. Some came early to beat the rush. Others filtered in throughout the day, but everyone was thrilled that this day arrived and that these shops are finally here.

[SLIDESHOW: See which stores are at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass]

They showed up before the doors even opened, waiting in line to get the first crack at a bargain. So by the time all the pomp and circumstance was finished and it was time to cut the ribbon, they were good and ready to shop.

"I bought this shirt at Brooks Brothers and these socks, I got those at Gold Toe so I don't know why you're all standing around here and you're not out shopping. C'mon," said Gary Skoien, CEO of Horizon Group Properties, developer of the outlet shops.

If you think the shoppers were the only ones waiting, think again.

[RELATED STORY: VIP Night crowd gets sneak peak and early bargains at new outlet mall


"In my 21 years being mayor, we've had a lot of exciting things happen," said Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden, "but I have to say this is probably one of the most exciting things."

Eden says he never thought, even once talks started two and a half years ago, that Horizon Group would build an outlet mall in his city. It seemed like an unlikely dream.

"They were dreamers," said Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson. "They were talking about this land as an opportunity for development and retail that would be great for the region."

This is the kind of dream where the reality is even better -- $80,000,000-plus, $8,000,000 worth of tax money a year for the state, and for Simpsonville, a chance to grow.

"I think it's going to bring a lot of good business, not just the outlets but also they're going to build up restaurants hopefully and really expand this area," said Brittany Smith, a shopper from nearby Shepherdsville. So while shoppers see bargains, the dollar signs to the city mean even more.

Simpsonville City Administrator David Eaton said to shoppers, "have a great time, make sure your pockets are full when you get here and empty when you leave!"

A spokeswoman for the Shoppes of the Bluegrasss says that they opened with 100% occupancy, all the leases for all the spaces have been signed. She says this is rare for an outlet center. Four stores - Guicci, Kate Spade, Love Culture and Tumi - signed their leases a little later in the process, so those stores will not open until fall.

If you've ever shopped at an outlet store, you know it's not an easy to know just what kind of bargain you're getting. Many stores have their own, factory lines, using different materials or designs, but the brand name is still on there and for some, the bargains are too good to pass up.

Shana Gentry from Leavenworth, Indiana, showed up with the sun. "We were up at Culvers around 7, 6:00, something like that," she said.

Then Gentry waited in line for 45 minutes outside of Coach in search of the perfect purse.

"I really like the Coach brand. I really like the quality. I think you do pay for the quality and I think the quality of it is really good," said Gentry.

The price on this purse she found was too good to pass on.

"It's $269 and then you get 50% off that and then you get an extra 20% off," Gentry said. "They gave us a coupon at the door."

Her total price: "$114, yeah, which really isn't bad." But how much was she really saving by shopping at the outlet? We wanted to price compare. Louisville's Coach store didn't have the same purse. The closest we could come was one at a department store, marked $198.

It was also tough to compare Matt Stout's bargain finds. He bought sunglasses for himself. "They're regularly $100 and they were on sale for $50 plus 30% off," Stout said. "I got a great deal on these glasses. I've been looking for them for a long time."

Stout also bought shoes for his daughter. "We found a great deal on a pair of shoes for our daughter, a pair of Air Max for $30," he said. "That's a great deal. They'd probably be about $50 at the normal mall so I feel like we saved a little bit."

The closest shoes we found were $10 more at a local sporting good store, and Matt's $35 sunglasses were $65 at both Amazon and Ebay online.

Tammy Raley and daughter Allison scored a thing or two. Tammy got a Michael Kors wallet for $99.

"Actually has a ticket on it for $139," Tammy Raley said.

That's close to the price we found for it online: $131.

Allison picked out an Under Armor backpack for her brother for $50. A similar bag at the sporting good store was between $54 and $64. A similar color cost $75.

Each of the shoppers we talked with felt they got a good bargain, even though you can't find the exact same thing in the store. Gentry left us in search of even more savings.

"I bought Coach for myself, so now I have to go buy something for the guys," she said.

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