“Gilroy is a shopping destination,” said Jane Howard, executive director of the Gilroy Welcome Center, a nonprofit that promotes the city as a tourist destination.
“It’s regional, it’s international and as for the Outlets, they are pushing now to get more of a local flavor to it,” added Howard.
A draw for tourists, visitors from more than 15 countries came to the Gilroy Premium Outlets in 2015.
Tour groups coming to the Outlets can include from 15 to 300 guests at one time, with each person receiving a welcome packet.
An economic impact study currently underway found that shopping is the number one reason people come to Gilroy.
“From a marketing perspective, we oftentimes do lead with shopping,” added Howard.
The Outlets continue to lead the way, generating more sales tax revenue for the city than any other group.
Heather Roach, director of marketing for the Outlets, said they look forward to continued success.
“The Outlets’ big focus now is to promote the center to local shoppers and find out what Gilroyans want,” she said.
Roach, who also serves on the Welcome Center’s board of directors, said she regularly goes out to ask shoppers what they would like to see at Outlets.
“One of the exciting things about The Outlets,” she said “is the mix of retailers.”
High-end retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Michael Kors offer discounts, making them accessible to range of shoppers, she said, while sporting brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma and Under Armor are also very popular.
And for that sought-after millennial consumer?
“Charlotte Russeand Forever 21 are fun and exciting retailers for the up and coming millennial group,” said Roach.
The Outlets now have 145 stores and this year has seen some changes.
Popular retailers Michael Kors, Converse and Skechers expanded to nearly twice their original size. Tommy Hilfiger combined with Tommy Kids into one large family store.
And Steve Madden, the brand that brought the world chunky platforms in the ’90s, is expected to open a store in Building A before summer.
Gilroy Premium Outlets is also the site of the only Lululemon Athleticaoutlet store in Northern California.
Now local shoppers can finally afford a pair of those ubiquitous yoga pants without breaking the bank.
Other exciting additions to the Gilroy Premium Outlets over the last couple years include Kate Spade and Abercrombie and Fitch.
Gilroy Premium Outlets hold special events throughout the year. Its two most popular are the Halloween Spooktacular and month-long Mission Pink program. During the month of October, shoppers can purchase a coupon book for $10 redeemable at participating retailers. The cost of the coupon book is tax deductible and the $10 is donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in support of breast cancer awareness activities.
The Outlets’ Halloween Spooktacular invites local children to trick-or-treat at participating retailers. The first 500 costumed children receive a goodie bag at the Outlets’ management office.
Coming in May are the Mother’s Day Weekend Sales, which include special giveaways and special retailer offers as well as light bites and refreshments for shoppers.