EAGAN, Minn. - Thousands of people flocked to Eagan on Thursday for the grand opening of Minnesota's newest mall.
Several leaders - including Gov. Mark Dayton - attended the ribbon cutting-ceremony for Twin Cities Premium Outlets. The mall, located at the intersection of Highways 13 and 77, features 100 stores all within a stone's throw of the Mall of America.
And that, experts say, won't be a problem for the state's landmark mall or its new neighbor.
"They're going to see a Twins game, they're going to the Mall of America, 'let's check out the outlet mall.' So it's that kind of an add-on," said Professor George John with the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
John said there's no question the Eagan mall stands to benefit more than its retail "big brother."
"The Mall of America is so big, so it's froth in the coffee cup for them. It's going to be much more the Eagan folks profiting from the traffic and the destination traffic that the Mall of America draws," John said.
"Competition is good; it pushes others to do their very best and that benefits everyone. We have always said that 'all boats rise together,' and this week is another example of that," said Vice President of Public Relations at MOA, Dan Jasper, in a statement.
As for traffic, those venturing to the outlet mall on the first day reported little wait for a parking spot.
"We had a lot of people directing traffic out there, so it was wonderful," said Kim O'Neil of Lakeville.
Mall officials say they've been working on a traffic and parking plan for years. The mall provides 3,000 spots and six lots at the outlet mall itself. They also encourage people to take a bus to the mall. Shoppers can ride the bus for free through this weekend; those passes are available at: MetroTransit.org or PremiumOutlets.com/TwinCities.