Promenade pulls shoppers from Coast and beyond

Customers travel from farther distances to visit on weekends

           Most of the shoppers at The Target have license plates from Jackson and Harrison counties, with others coming from neighboring counties and states.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CBL The parking lot was full on grand opening day at The Promenade in October and customers continue to come from across South Mississippi and beyond.

D’IBERVILLE

Five months after Target put its bulls-eye logo on the Interstate 10 and 110 junction, The Promenade shopping complex is pulling customers from miles around.

“I get some coming from as far as Mobile,” who stop in about every other Saturday, said Marc Wyatt, owner of Ice Cream & More. He moved his ice cream shop from the Singing River Mall in Gautier to the new shopping center and he said his customers from Jackson County are finding him every day as they come to shop at The Promenade.

Dina Le, a spokesperson for Bellissima Nail Spa at The Promenade, said weekday shoppers are mostly local.

“On weekends you’ll see tourists coming through,” she said, including people going to the casinos.

The customer radius expands on the weekends to 30 miles, with more customers coming from Pascagoula and Pass Christian, she said.

A survey of license plates in a parking lot at The Promenade supports that. On a recent weekday morning, 41 vehicles had Harrison County plates, 28 were from Jackson County and 2 from Hancock County, with a smattering of plates from Pearl River, Lee and Rankin counties in Mississippi, along with one or two each from neighboring states and Florida.

On a Sunday afternoon, a bigger portion of vehicles were from Jackson and Hancock counties. Shoppers had driven in from nearby Stone and George counties and there were many more out-of-state plates from snowbird states including Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado and Ohio, plus New Mexico, California and Alaska.

“I did go to Mobile,” said a shopper from Pascagoula, but she said it’s definitely easier to get to D’Iberville.

Brenda Dearing of Gulfport used to shop at the Target store in Pensacola, Fla., when she visited family there.

Now she frequently shops at the D’Iberville store.

“I love Target,” she said.

The Promenade developers, CBL & Associates Properties, haven’t done a survey of where the customers are coming from, but merchants can tell from the credit card receipts.

“Anecdotally, we’re seeing cars coming from all over so it’s really wonderful to have such a broad draw,” said Katie Reinsmidt, vice president of corporate communications for CBL.

The Promenade is one of the largest new developments in the area since Hurricane Katrina and she said, “We really had anticipated people making the trip to experience it.”

She said the tenants are happy with the number of customers.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback,” which she said was an affirmation of the strength of the project.

The Promenade is described as a “power center,” with 11 anchors and 80,000 square feet of specialty shops and restaurants. More than 120,000 cars pass by each day, according to the site demographics.

“The surrounding market population of more than 320,000 has been underserved by retail since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” the CBL Web site says.

The company expects The Promenade to create more than 1,000 jobs and $185 million in annual sales when fully open.

Kohl’s Department Store and Michaels craft shop will open in the next two weeks and Logan’s Roadhouse is scheduled to open in early May.

Under construction at The Promenade are Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant and sports bar and a Shoe Station. Office Depot, which D’Iberville building officials said had pulled back on its plans to locate at The Promenade during the recession, has filed a building permit and is starting to prepare the site.

By MARY PEREZ – meperez@sunherald.com

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