The Grand Opening of Pier Park on Thursday, February 14 was a huge hit with literally thousands of shoppers enjoying the new shops. When I was there on Thursday evening, the parking was full on the Boardwalk area with a pretty heavy flow of traffic coming down the main street. You almost wouldn’t know that it was the first day it was opened. A total of 18 stores opened on Thursday with more to open this weekend and next week.
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On Friday, Simon released the following:
NEWS AND NOTES FROM PIER PARK – FEBRUARY 15, 2008
Out on the Boardwalk…Several new stores have opened this week at Pier Park, Simon Property Group’s new 900,000-square-foot retail and entertainment lifestyle center located in Panama City Beach, Florida. Nearly 20 stores officially opened to the public on Valentine’s Day and experienced strong sales with heavy foot-traffic. Even more retailers are expected to open this weekend.
Nothing Small About It…Georgeann Smith and Brandy Lister, co-owners of tatoe tots…a children’s clothing specialty shop named after Lister’s godchild…said sales exceeded their expectations. “We were thrilled with the number of people who shopped in our store and shared positive feedback,” said Lister. “We doubled our sales goal!”
No Tall Tales…”We had more than a 1,000 shoppers come through the doors, with more than 500 visitors within the first two hours,” said Cindy Stephens, owner of Fish Tales. Fish Tales specializes in beach-themed décor and jewelry. Fish Tales kicked off their opening by serving complimentary mimosas. Stephens said that they went through 40 bottles of Champagne.
Burgers of Love…Five Guys Famous Hamburgers & Fries franchise owner Blake Geoghan and his staff had been slammed at lunch on their opening day Thursday. They ran out of seating and patrons were waiting for 30-45 minutes for a table. In fact during one 90-minute period, a lunchtime record for the chain was set.
But certainly on Valentine’s night, this outstanding fast casual eatery would slow up, right? Wrong. “The shocking thing,” Geoghan reports, “is that we had people standing out the door at dinner, too.” Geoghan and his staff had a great day. “It exceeded our wildest expectations,” he said. “It was fabulous.”
Mayor Oberst of Panama City Beach was among the first-day diners at Five Guys.
OOM PA!!…One hundred people were waiting outside the doors of Hofbrau Beer Garden in advance of Thursday’s 5 p.m. opening. Inside, staff was working feverishly to greet them. Managing partner Hans Weissgerber said it came down to the last five minutes. “There are a lot of challenges involved in getting opened,” he said. But it certainly was worth it. By the end of the evening 400 people had been served and the party had raged on with group singing and dancing on the tables.
“It’s nice to open the doors and be full at day one,” Weissgerber said. “It’s also nice to know that all of the efforts you’ve made to get open were appreciated by the Panama City Beach community, which seems to truly embrace and appreciate our brand of good Bavarian fun.”
Opening at Pier Park today, February 15, 2008:
Bebo’z Gifts & Collectibles
Mermaid Trading Co.
More Stores Premiering in February and March at Pier Park:
Guglielmo’s Italian Restaurant
Jake at the Beach
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
Merle Norman Cosmetics
Ron Jon Surf Shop
Southern Waters Outfitters
The Back Porch