New outlet mall in Cherokee County opens to huge crowds

New outlet mall in Cherokee County opens to huge crowds

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -

The much anticipated Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta opened Thursday in Cherokee County and the turnout was enormous.

The parking lot of the 370,000 square foot outlet mall was nearly filled to capacity on opening day.

The retail center will bring much more than just shopping bargains. It is expected to be a much needed boost to the local economy.

"I love the prices. I've gone to Coach, Chico's. It's well stocked," says outlet shopper Jocelyn Baker.

Happy customers mean more money for Cherokee County's coffers.

Gary Skoin, the CEO of Horizon Group Properties, the company that owns the outlet mall, believes the mall will have a major impact on the economy.

"There are property taxes that go to the county, the city, the school district," says Skoin. "So, there's a huge impact from this. And then, of course, there's a tremendous amount of job creation."

Approximately 1,600 people currently work at the outlet center.

Tony Waters was hired as director of operations at a job fair for both full-time and part-time workers.

"I love the seasonal aspect of it," says Waters.  "Just for the fact that a lot of people, a lot of the time just want seasonal, part-time positions."

Brandon Ali, 15, is one of those people. Like a lot of teenagers, he's looking for a way to make some extra cash.

"Yeah, I've seen a lot of young people here," says Ali. "And it looks they hired a lot of young people too, to give them jobs."

Others, such as homeowner Luke Reynolds, are hoping the outlets will eventually help boost the property values of nearby homes.

"We've gone underwater, as they say, with property value," says Reynolds. "And with this, I think it will help be attractive for other potential buyers."

The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta is projected to generate more than $130,000,000 in annual sales. That amounts to about $34,000,000 a year in taxes for the City of Woodstock, Cherokee County and its school district.

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