The growth and restructuring of Fashion Outlets Niagara Falls took another step forward Wednesday with the opening the Converse Factory Outlet store.

“These are major companies in Niagara County,” said David M. Desmarais, director of membership and development for the Niagara USA Chamber. “This is corporate investment.”

Desmarais was speaking outside the store at a morning ribbon-cutting which included local and regional Converse employees and mall officials. Inside the store, a stream of customers were already checking out the rows of shoes and clothing.

There are now 36 Converse Factory Outlets open in the U.S. and the Niagara Falls location is unique in that, being inside the mall, it does not have an entrance that leads directly outdoors, Store Manager Kyle-Lynn Tuttle said.

Ten of the 25 stores expected to open this year at the mall are now in operation, mall Marketing Director Julie Clark said. Many tenants have also moved to different locations within the mall to fit with the restructuring theme, which puts stores in similar places based on the type of customers they’re trying to attract.

There are new signs and comfort areas with chairs. There are also new vaulted ceilings along the Fashion Avenue corridor and a 16-by-20 foot LED screen at the entrance tower streaming video of area attractions and fashion video form the designer outlets.

By the holiday season, the mall should be 96 percent occupied, Clark said. That’s a far cry from earlier this year, when large yellow boards surrounded more than 50 percent of the mall’s space where construction was ongoing to welcome new or moving tenants.

The mall had been in decline for a long time up until a few years ago, Desmarais said.

“Everybody thought it was going to become another shell of what could have been,” he said.

The mall, located at 1900 Military Road in the Town of Niagara, was purchased and revamped in November 2005 by Talisman Companies LLC of Miami.

Now, the goal to make the mall a Niagara County destination in its own right is becoming a reality, Clark said.

“People don’t have to go to Buffalo anymore,” she said.

Trending Video

Recommended for you