RGVision: Has the opening of the RGV Premium Outlets met all company expectations? Is it considered a good decision for the company?
Ric Rios: We are pleased with the center. It enables us to serve the area’s permanent population, area visitors and provide high quality outlet shopping to Mexican nationals. The center has had several expansions, which were done due to the success of the center and merchant demand. VF Outlet, our latest expansion – is now open. We are also adding a very exciting water feature, which we know shoppers will enjoy.
RGVision: What is the best thing you like about your job?
Rios: Running a center is like being the Mayor of a town. There are so many aspects that keep it exciting and diverse. My favorite part is working with terrific people. That includes those within Simon, including the staff on site, our merchants (including store managers), and of course our valued shoppers. I love when shoppers tell me how much they enjoy shopping at the center and how impressed they are with the center’s look and feel, which is something we take great pride in.
RGVision: To what do you attribute the mall’s popularity among locals and Mexican nationals?
Rios: We have over 140 stores, which is quite an impressive number, and we have incredible outlet stores. The selection is one that can fulfill the shopping needs of a wide range of shopper from the most discriminating fashion forward consumer to a large family on a tight budget. We truly have it all.
RGVision: Where does most of your local customer base come from? What is the percentage of local shoppers versus visitors from outside of the valley?
Rios: While we do not provide that information publicly, we serve shoppers from throughout the Rio Grande Valley – we are so easy to get to. Area shoppers truly appreciate our savings.
RGVision: How significant is the economic impact Mexican nationals bring to our area?
Rios: It is an important part of our customer base as are locals and area visitors / Winter Texans.
RGVision: As the general manager, what are some of the challenges you face?
Rios: We continue to want to exceed shoppers’ expectations so we work to insure our center is always well maintained and our staff provides excellent customer service. Our challenges are to better each day and that is exciting to me – it keeps us highly motivated.
RGVision: What aspect of managing the Premium Outlet Mall gives you the most satisfaction?
Rios: High customer satisfaction and the great job our staff does – we have a great team.
RGVision: Are there any future expansion plans for the mall? Is there anything new coming up this holiday season?
Rios: We recently expanded the center to add VF Outlet, which is a wonderful addition as they carry so many high quality brands at great savings. The new water feature is a great addition. We are excited for our annual After-Thanksgiving Sale featuring Midnight Madness, which gets bigger and better each year. The holiday is a great time to save as stores do an incredible job providing deals as well as selection. We also plan to offer VIP Shopper Club members lots of great offers so if your readers are not already members, it makes good sense to join at www.premiumoutlets.com/vip