After a jam-packed opening weekend, Tanger Factory Outlet Center leaders are feeling positive about the mall's future.

After a jam-packed opening weekend, Tanger Factory Outlet Center leaders are feeling positive about the mall's future.

Shoppers from across central Ohio and beyond made their way to Berkshire Township to check out Delaware County's first outlet mall on its opening day June 24, creating traffic backups on Interstate 71 and along U.S. Route 36/state Route 37.

By 11 a.m. June 24, Delaware County Sheriff's deputies already had shut down South Wilson Road -- the only way to access the outlets -- because the mall's parking lot was full.

But Carl Landis, the mall's general manager, said he doesn't expect heavy traffic to cause a drop in visitors.

"I am confident that the experience and value we offer for shoppers will encourage return visits from our loyal shoppers and new guests as well," he said via email.

While Landis credited his "strong management team" with handling the first weekend well, the Delaware County Sheriff's Office had plenty of work on their hands.

Spokeswoman Tracy Whited said the department expected a huge influx of people, but didn't figure they'd all arrive at once on the first day.

"It went pretty much as anticipated with the exception that no one anticipated that all the mall visitors would converge at the same time," she said.

By about 10 a.m. June 24, when the mall hosted its ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open, traffic already was a mess, whether customers were coming for a speech by Property Brothers stars Drew and Jonathan Scott or for the first crack at the dozens of new stores.

"I just don't know if it was the addition of the Property Brothers or the fact that everybody said, 'Let's go right when it opens,' " Whited said.

When deputies closed off Wilson Road, Whited said many people began parking on Routes 36/37. Deputies worked quickly to tell shoppers to move their cars from the road, but realized there were no posted signs that said parking was not allowed.

Deputies did not issue citations June 24, and when they put up no-parking signs for the rest of the weekend, the problem was resolved, Whited said.

Despite the hectic first weekend, Landis said Tanger was pleased with the grand opening.

He declined to say how many shoppers came to the mall on the first weekend, but didn't want to compare to other Tanger opening weekends.

"Every Tanger center and market is unique, and there was certainly plenty of excitement in Columbus leading up to the grand opening," he said. "We are pleased by the warm welcome we have received from the community and the energetic response from our shoppers since our official grand opening."

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