Thousands of shoppers turned out Friday for the first day of business at Gilbert’s new SanTan Village mall.
For Gilbert-area shoppers, the regional mall at Loop 202 and Williams Field Road will provide more convenient shopping than having to drive to Chandler Fashion Center or Mesa’s Superstition Springs Center.
“It’s a matter of convenience,” said Queen Creek resident Cris Ferrell as she waited in line with her young child to get inside Build-a-Bear Workshop, a Teddy-bear-themed store at the mall. “And I really like the outdoor aspect of this. It’s kind of a nice, different way of shopping.”
Outside the bear shop, between the rows of children’s clothing and toy stores, mothers sat watching their children climb on giant bugs and flowers in the mall’s playground.
And down the corridor, among the teen and young adult shops near the Harkins movie theater, shoppers waited outside women’s clothing store Forever 21 to get their hands on free gift cards given away to the first 200 customers.
“I’m actually here for my sister; she’s more into trendy clothing,” said Stephanie Smith of Mesa. “But she’s working today.”
Smith said she was excited to explore the new mall.
“Superstition Springs has been around for a long time,” she said. “So it’s nice to just get a nice new mall in the Valley.”
Mall officials estimate as many as 250,000 people will visit the mall during its grandopening weekend packed with live entertainment and fashion shows. An estimated 30,000 turned out Thursday night for a pre-opening event that featured live music and a fireworks show, said Jennifer Munn, senior marketing manager for the mall.
“The parking lot was completely jampacked,” she said. The parking lot has approximately 5,500 spaces.
Construction on the mall, planned by mall developer Westcor for at least 10 years, began in fall 2006. It opened with 85 stores and restaurants and represents the company’s first regional mall in the Valley since Chandler Fashion Center opened in 2001. It’s also the state’s first outdoor regional mall, said Garrett Newland, vice president of development for Westcor.