REHOBOTH BEACH – Turkey dinner and pumpkin pie aren’t the only Thanksgiving traditions for Sue Hall of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.
Once the holiday dishes have been washed, she and four female relatives will make their annual pilgrimage to Delaware’s shopping mecca, the Tanger outlets at Rehoboth Beach.
They will be among the hundreds to descend on the beaches with a singular mission in mind: Finding the best Black Friday deals they can find.
“I get 95 percent of my Christmas shopping done that week and it’s tax free,” Hall said.
The biggest draw for Hall, her daughter, niece and two sisters, though, is the variety of stores along the two-mile stretch of Rehoboth Beach’s Coastal Highway.
This year, Hall and her fellow shoppers will find they have some new stores to explore, including some that are not outlets
The Rehoboth Beach has added Ulta Beauty, Salt Life and Huk in the last year.
Marketing Director Michele Doucette said shoppers also will find a mix of local hyperlocal retail brands at the centers, including Super Fanz, Fur Baby Pet Boutique and Coffee Rendezbrew.
The new non-outlet stores not only will appeal to a variety of niches but also keep the space in the shopping centers occupied as outlet shopping suffers from online competition.
The additions extend beyond shopping venues.
Diversifying Tanger’s portfolio of outlet offerings nationwide and establishing their open-air style shopping centers as community gathering places were main objectives in Tanger’s 2023 strategic plan.
“These new stores expand options for our shoppers in the popular beauty and lifestyle categories, a key priority for Tanger as we continue to elevate the retail experience and bring more diversification to the center,” Doucette said.
This past spring, Tanger also added a Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Rehoboth Beach.
“The first hotel affiliate in the Tanger portfolio offers guests additional amenities to make their visit with us even more memorable,” Doucette said.
Jab & Flow, a boxing studio that opened in early summer, grew the shopping center operator’s portfolio even more.
Michelle Rawley of Smyrna said the outlets are a place she also shares quality time with her loved ones, even when the calendar isn’t heading into the holidays.
“I love going with friends and family,” she said. “ I used to love to take my niece back to school shopping when she (was younger) and would…visit from Philly.”
Rawley, a realtor with Bryan Realty Group, said she also enjoys shopping before or after appointments near the beach but has been known to make the 55-mile drive just to shop.
Becoming a new mother left her with less time to do that.
“I prefer in store shopping for myself so I can see and feel the clothing,” she said.
That’s a tangible experience online shopping can’t provide, she said.
The outlets also benefit her as a realtor because they are a great selling point for southern Delaware home buyers.
“My clients love them,” she said.
Making a shopping plan
With so many choices, having an itinerary for their time at the outlets is a must for Rawley and Hall.
So is having a little something in your tummy.
“I hit Surf Bagel first because nobody should shop on an empty stomach,” Rawley advised. “Then I hit the store that’s on the top of my list and work my way around.”
Hall said she and her crew make sure every single store on their lists is hit at least once.
“Sometimes we go back to the same store twice, especially if we heard someone got a great deal,” she said.
As Tanger’s retail roster continues to evolve to better suit the needs of shoppers, the company plans to continue to amplify the mix of local and national brands and eateries available to customers, Doucette said.
She and Tanger spokeswoman Sarah Wynn Benton are tight-lipped about what 2024 may bring, although Mission Barbecue’s is expected to be one of the additions.
The best way to keep up with changes is to follow the outlets on social media, she said.
“Details on new brands will be shared as they become available,” said Benton.
If you go
Tanger Outlets at Rehoboth Beach are closed Thanksgiving Day, but will be open Friday, Nov. 24, from 6 a.m to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Freelance writer Katie Kazimir is a resident of Lewes and can be reached at 302-560-2211 or [email protected].
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