141022 Fashion Outlet 4

Employees of New York & Company, from left, Jaleisa Newton, Qushanta Elder, Shayla Hall and Monique Sykes, all of Niagara Falls, responded proudly to a request to show off the outlet store they had been preparing to open when the newly renovated Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA opened last October. This year, the mall is part of a program to encourage Western New Yorkers to take a “staycation” in the Niagara region.

Can’t get away for a high-priced summer vacation? Consider staying home and going shopping.

A group of Niagara region businesses are reminding area residents that a “staycation” can take the sting out of not being able to get out of town.

The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA, The Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. and a group of area hotels are offering discount packages encouraging people to get a hotel room in the Niagara area and treat themselves to some of the events they haven’t had a chance to check out lately.

“The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls went through a major renovation and expansion last year, adding a ton of retailers,” said Katie Walsh, marketing manager at the mall. “I don’t know that all our Western New York shoppers have come to see. This is a way to outreach to them.”

The mall approached the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. “We thought it was a great idea for those who simply can’t get away,” said Julie Gilbert, director of marketing for the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. “We have this incredible asset where the shopping is second to none, and sometimes we forget about them.”

Gilbert said that those who take a “staycation” and enjoy themselves will help to spread the word about good things in the region. “I think it’s important to remind people there is a lot to see and do here and, in doing that, they become our ambassadors as well,” Gilbert said.

“It’s a big circle that really helps us promote what is happening throughout Niagara County,” she added.

The mall offers shopping discount packages for purchase, called a Green Savings Card. A $15 card includes a mall directory, a tote and and special gift, along with discounts from many stores at the mall. A $35 card is similar but includes dinner at Applebees Restaurant. For more information, visit the “Visitors” page at www.fashionoutletsniagara.com.

The mall’s web page also features a list of area hotels offering discounts to shoppers.

Doug Ujeski, general manager of the Giacomo Hotel in downtown Niagara Falls, said his hotel always offers a shopping package to guests. “We always like to support all the local businesses,” he said. “We have a ‘stay-and-shop’ package available to all guests. The Giacomo package offers a 10-percent discount on a room along with discounts from the Fashion Outlets, along with a hot breakfast buffet and a Giacomo “survival bag” of items such as bottled water, granola bar and postcard.

The Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.’s web page offers an ever-growing calendar of events for those who are considering pampering themselves with a “staycation,” including the Niagara USA Wine Festival July 25-26 and the Lewiston Jazz Festival Aug. 28 and 29. “We will be coordinating with the outlet mall and promoting ‘staycations’ on our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” said NTCC’s Gilbert. “We have a lot of local followers and friends and we use those channels as a way to communicate with our local residents as well as tourists from around the world.”

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