Moms, you won’t be disappointed with the Shops of Grand River, the eagerly anticipated outlet mall in Leeds.
No longer will we have to wait for the trip to the beach (Foley) or a jaunt to Atlanta (Georgia 400) to get our outlet shopping experience. After witnessing the long decline of Watermark Place and Boaz Outlets as shopping destinations, it’s time we had an exciting outlet mall for Birmingham.
The complex is a sort of hybrid of indoor and outdoor spaces, with
storefronts opening to interior, stroller-friendly walkways and intersecting in a large common center. At the center is a rock water feature, food court and shaded outdoor area with a play yard for the kids. It’s the natural let’s-meet-back-here-in-two-hours spot and, of course, husband waiting area.
You’ve got the anchor stores essential to an outlet mall like Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic and Gap. Everyone has a shop, though.
- Moms: Talbot’s Outlet, Nine West, Jones New York (and Coach arrives in 2011)
- Dads: Nike, Bass, Brooks Brothers and Jos A. Bank (although get our approval before choosing a suit – oh, wait, we’re the ones dragging you in to buy a suit)
- Kids: Learning Express and Toys “R” Us Express – please don’t nag, kids, we’ll get to the toy stores soon enough
- Moms again: Gymboree Outlet, Children’s Place, Carter’s or Aeropostale and Sketchers, depending on the age of your kids
- Your mother or mother-in-law: Naturalizer, Chico’s, VF
While the project has already been recognized for its effort towards environmentally respectful building, you can appreciate that this is not another Tuscan or French-inspired stucco creation, lovely as those may be. Instead, the Shops of Grand River complex is comfortable being what it is – an outlet mall in the Appalachian foothills of Central Alabama. The theme is river and woodlands, as you can see from the climb-on canoe and frog in the play area. Imagine, a frog that’s not waiting expectantly for a kiss.
Finally, we are celebrating what is authentic to our area. And that includes moms who love to shop.
Fun note: Grand River’s logo, with concentric circles making up the “o” in the word “Shops,” was inspired by a Native American symbol for watering hole.