After months of construction, more than a year of talk and weeks of buzz over the "Battle of the Outlets," the second of the Chesterfield Valley's two outlet malls opens on Thursday — literally with fireworks.
Meanwhile, Chesterfield police are preparing for an onslaught of customers to storm the new St. Louis Premium Outlets, just south of Highway 40 near the Boone Bridge, much as they did on Aug. 2 with the opening of the rival Taubman Prestige Outlets on the other side of the Valley.
That opening drew 10,000 customers in its first five hours.
With reports of traffic backed up onto Highway 40 during that opening, Chesterfield police are preparing.
But as police spokesman Mike Ryffel said, "unfortunately, it's simple physics. There is only so much traffic you can move into a given space. So many people want to be there. We just preach patience to everyone coming in."
The department has been coordinating with the Simon Property Group, owners of the new outlet, with hire 10 off-duty Chesterfield officers to work extra duty on crowd and traffic control for the 9 a.m. opening on Thursday.
"There will be plenty of security," Ryffel said.
The stores expected to open Thursday at the new St. Louis Premium Outlets include Ann Taylor, Armani, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, Crabtree & Evelyn, Elie Tahari, J.Crew, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, Vera Bradley and more.
Events for the opening-day weekend at the 350,000-square-foot retail center, located at 18521 Outlet Boulevard, include:
- A ribbon cutting with local dignitaries at 9 a.m. Thursday, with a presentation of a donation to West County YMCA and flyover by Wings of Hope.
- Cardinals autograph sessions on at Wilsons Leather: Mike Matheny from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday; and Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon with Matt Carpenter and Trevor Rosenthal.
- A fireworks display on Saturday at 9 p.m.
- Daily events including: live entertainment, photo brag wall and red carpet, Premium Outlets Designer Showcase, and the chance to enter-to-win more than 140 prizes including a $5,000 shopping spree.
- Shoppers can also sponsor a balloon to benefit the West County YMCA throughout the weekend in Center Court.