CLARKSBURG – Embracing an outdoor shopping experience, people walked store to store, braving the cold to get their last-minute Christmas shopping done at the newly opened Clarksburg Premium Outlets.
Opened in October, the Clarksburg Premium Outlets have become an up-County destination for many shoppers in its inaugural holiday season.
“Well, the space is good. The structure … I don’t know any storm, how this is going to do,” said Rockville resident Herbert Meledez.
Designed as an outdoor mall, Clarksburg Premium Outlets is a 392,000-square-foot plaza, has over 70 stores and is the country’s first two-story outdoor outlet mall, according to Stephen Yalof, CEO of Simon Premium Outlets, which owns the outlet in Clarksburg.
Representatives from Simon Properties did not respond to a request to comment by press time.
The outlet is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Located off exit 18 on I-270, stores at the outlet include Nike, Under Armor, Puma, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Gap, Columbia Sports Wear, Coach, Hugo Boss and Armani.
“They had a J. Crew outlet here, but it is not open,” said Emily, a resident of Alexandria that stopped at the Clarksburg Premium Outlets on her way back from shopping in Frederick.
Emily said she was disappointed with the new outdoor mall and that she thought more stores would be open.
Since it opened in October, there have been long lines to get into to the new shopping center, especially during the holiday shopping season. Clarksburg residents have complained about the increased traffic around the outlets, and there has been backup on I-270 just to get into the outlet mall during major shopping days, such as Black Friday.
“It is bad, but we live close, in Rockville, so it’s not that bad. I don’t know where other people come from,” said Meledez of the traffic.
Since its opening, the County has provided a Ride On bus stop to the outlets. Route 75, which provides service from the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg to the Germantown Transit Center, now includes a stop at the outlets.
“There’s a lot of intersections around there and roads that need to be widened, and the county calls for them to be widened … it’s a matter of building them and building them one at a time,” said Council member Hans Riemer (D-At large).
Riemer said the new outlet mall was a mixed bag for people in Clarksburg as they would have a much closer option for shopping but also increased traffic from more visitors coming in to go to the new outlet center.
“The purpose of allowing that mall to go forward there is to improve the quality of life for the people in that region so they can have shopping dining and entertainment options and not drive 45 min to wherever,” Riemer said.