By Janet K. Keeler
In the life cycle of a shopping mall, Tampa Premium Outlets is a mere toddler. It still has that new mall shine and design, and looks more like a pastel-colored village than the traditional complex of shops.
The 110-store mall made up of courtyards, breezeways and fountains opened in 2015 just off Interstate 75 and State Road 56 in Lutz. Or is it Wesley Chapel? For sure the mall is in southern Pasco County even though its name spouts Tampa, which is in Hillsborough County.
So here’s the deal: the mall has a Lutz address but it sits in the heart of Wesley Chapel, considered a suburb of Tampa, whose downtown is about 20 miles away. As Tampa has grown, the suburbs and subdivisions have pushed north into Pasco.
Geography aside, there’s plenty to draw shoppers to Tampa Premium Outlets, no matter the address on their driver’s licenses.
Spending a day at this mall is hardly difficult. The collection of designer shops, where prices might be up to 50 percent of retail costs, is enough to keep a serious browser busy. Armani, Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and his Polo line, and Tommy Hilfiger are all represented.
When the mall first opened, lines were long for Coach, the purveyor of fine, iconic purses. Today, Coach still packs them in with its quality goods at much reduced prices but there’s competition for totes, wallets and handbags.
Tumi luggage and bags are known around the world for its sleek, modern styles. Tumi’s cross-body bags are much coveted for travel because there are many pockets for stashing passport, money and other important items when on the road. Computer cases, backpacks and tablet covers are also among the inventory.
More purses, bags and luggage can be found at Cole Haan, Samsonite, Steve Madden and the Luggage Factory. If you don’t have a trip planned, you just might be booking some airline tickets once you score a new suitcase. On wheels, of course. Likewise, the Discount Luggage Outlet.
What’s a little shopping without a bite of chocolate along the way? Tampa Premium Outlets gets that. Haagen-Dazs has a mighty fine collection of ice creams, including classic butter pecan and cherry vanilla. Edy’s ice cream is loaded as well. Godiva Chocolatier and Lindt are tasty spots for gifts, perhaps for you if it’s close to your birthday or you just feel you deserve a treat. More truffles, more better. Chocolate urges satisfied, it’s time to press on.
With Disney World about 90 miles away, it’s convenient to have a spot to pick up some souvenirs, especially if you forgot something when you were in Orlando. The Disney Store Outlet brings the parks’ favorite characters to a new location.
As long as we’re thinking about the kids, there are several shops that specialize in wee-wear, including Carter’s and Janie and Jack. Clothes might not be what the kids’ have in mind, but Toys “R” Us Express will get their attention. (And maybe the lion’s share of your paycheck if you aren’t careful.)
After your darlings have convinced you to buy them a new game, video or board, take them to Johnny Rockets for a cheeseburger and a slice of apple pie before heading to home base. In whatever county you live.
When you go…
2300 Grand Cypress Drive
Lutz, FL 33559-6824
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