For die-hard bargain hunters, the opening of an outlet mall is a lot to celebrate. But economists, city leaders, and job seekers say there's more to celebrate than just shopping.
"It's the first outlet center to open in California since 2001," said assistant general manager Dave Ackerman. "And better yet, it's only one of five outlet centers in the whole United States to open in this year."
Some say the opening of the Paragon Outlet Mall in Livermore is more concrete evidence that the economy is coming back and can support a new, huge mall. One hour before the outlet mall even opened, there was a line at Starbucks.
"Hey, you've got a brand new outlet store in the Bay Area," said Tracy resident Alexis Kitt, "We live in Tracy, we don't have very many things close by, so we have been waiting and anticipating for this mall to open up."
Predictions are that traffic on 580 will be clogged throughout the grand opening weekend. Mall executives have made plans to try and accommodate the crowds.
"We've created auxiliary parking lots for overflow parking so that we keep this thing flowing as best we can," Ackerman said. "We know there is a lot of excitement and we want to just try to minimize the impact on 580."
The mall has 130 stores and restaurants, featuring all big brand names you are likely very familiar with. But we did find one family-owned, Walnut Creek business among all these big names. The owner of the Cornology Popcorn Company is excited and a little nervous about the number of shoppers here in the big leagues.
"They tell me 140,000, I have no concept what that is," said Cornology creator Mark Stone. "We're gonna do the best we can, and it's gonna be a learning experience for us."