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Asheville Outlets makes a splash with opening


Kenny Cowden performed on a unicycle, for the charity night.

People from across the area flocked to the renovated mall starting at a charitable-benefiting preview Thursday, April 30 despite some rain. Many more came steadily in the grand opening Friday. On Saturday, TV personality Carson Kressley hosted the Looks for Less fashion show. Weather stayed warm and sunny Sunday, when children’s activities were the focus.


Estimates are that Outlets is providing more than 800 jobs, and 8.3 million annually in state and local taxesThe 325,000-square-foot mall is at 800 Brevard Road/N.C. 191 just south of I-26’s exit 33. It opened in 1989, then closed for a year and three months for renovations unveiled last week. The airy, open and pavilion passages replace tall ceilings and arches skylights, and an ornate but perhaps gaudy prior style.

Dillard’s remains an anchor and largest store, as Dillard’s Clearance Center at one end. Field & Stream is now at the other end, in the next-largest space. Past anchors included Belk, and a cinema.

Asheville Outlet’s other apparel outlets include of Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Brooks Brothers, Forever 21, Gap, Hanesbrands, J. Crew, Levi’s, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and Under Armour. Jewelry outlets include of Kay Jewelers, Pandora and Zales.

“We are so excited to be able to bring all of these wonderful retailers to Asheville,” Asheville Outlets General Manager Sharon Morgan stated. She said shoppers from out of town might stay in local motels and dine.

Fragrance Outlet sales associate Brooke Brewer stood outside the store’s door Thursday, holding a sign promoting a drawing for a free drawing this week to win a new Apple watch.

“I’m so excited,” she said of the opening. “We’ve been waiting forever for an outlet like this. Before, you had to drive to Gaffney (S.C.) or Atlanta.”

As some store managers explained, many of their items are from the chain’s regular stores for such reasons as getting overstocked or succeeded by a newer version. In the cases of tennis shoes, for example, the change is often slight and cosmetic rather than in support, cushioning or tread design.

On Thursday, in a four-hour Open Doors-Open Hearts Charity Preview Night donor-shoppers visited stores after designating $20 fully to a charity of their choice. Money is to benefit such groups as Manna Food Bank, Flat Rock Playhouse, and animal rescue by both Brother Wolf and Charlie’s Angels. Some stores allow dogs inside, and the mall has a dog watering station.

Visitors marveled at the open walkways and courtyards with gallery roofs providing some shade and shelter. They also gave a thumbs up to stylish and colorful decor of storefronts and interiors, and array of merchandise specials. The Food Court is planned to eventually have 12 soft couches, cyber-bar and free wifi.

Brewer, 18, of Fairview is an A.C. Reynolds High School alumnus. She said she is grateful to work in what looms as a busy shopping destination, and perhaps a popular teen hangout.

Kenny Cowden got a birdseye view of oncoming crowds Thursday, riding on his six-foot-high unicycle. Other performer that first day included Longtime Rounders with bluegrass, in the Food Court.

For a list of the store outlets and other information, check

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