Shoppers swarm new Tanger Outlet mall in Mebane
Posted November 5, 2010 4:00 a.m. EDT
Updated November 5, 2010 6:53 p.m. EDT
Mebane, N.C. — Looking for bargains required patience in the store and on the road Friday as shoppers swarmed a new outlet mall in Mebane in Alamance County.
Traffic was backed up for more than a mile on Interstate 40/85, both directions, at Mebane Oaks Road, exit 154.
One shopper said she had to park 3 miles away. Others parked along curbs, in the grass or anywhere they could to get to Tanger, which features 80 stores in an open, outdoor setting.
"Just wait until the traffic clears a little bit, then come out and shop. It'll be worth your time," said shopper Pat Morgan.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is warning motorists to be prepared for heavy traffic through the weekend during the grand opening.
DOT suggested that motorists hoping to avoid the congestion use exit 153 to N.C. Highway 119 to Mebane Oaks Road or exit 157 to Buckhorn Road.
Portable message boards will be operating to advise motorists of congested areas along the interstate. Outlet security will staff parking lots, and Mebane police will manage major intersections to monitor and adjust traffic signals as needed.
Tanger is a big addition to the tax base. Officials say the outlet center will add about $7 million to Alamance County's bottom line. It's also bringing jobs to Mebane. Many of the stores at Tanger are still looking to fill retail positions.
Consumer Reports warns shoppers to do their homework before going to outlet centers. Retailers sometimes offer lower prices, because they sell lower-quality merchandise made especially for the outlet stores.