A glance at the vacant storefronts in the center near the Interstate 205-MacArthur Drive interchange certainly confirms that new retail concepts are needed.
As the pondering of new retail ideas by the parent Northwest Outlets firm continues, another Tracy Outlets store — Tuesday Morning — is holding a final clearance sale and will close soon.
Elaine Yager, who has managed the outlet center for the past 17 years, reported that the number of stores in the center is down to 10, and the loss of Tuesday Morning will reduce it to nine.
Most recently, the Gap Outlet Store, Oshkosh B’Gosh children’s store and Van Heusen men’s and women’s clothing all pulled the plug and moved to new outlet center near Livermore.
That much-larger, higher-end outlet center, which opened recently as Paragon, is now owned by Premium Outlets, the major outlet center firm in Northern California.
No doubt, the new Livermore outlet center has had some impact on the local center, but Tracy Outlets has never tried to go head-to-head with centers with high-end stores and instead has concentrated on mid-level retailers.
Earlier, however, the local center had lost other major stores with well-known names, including Reebok-Rockport, G.H. Bass and Liz Clairborne.
“Our owners realize we need a new strategy for the center, and they’re working at developing one,” Yager said. “They are serious about getting the right kind of stores that will make the center work.”
The owners, Gary Patterson and Rick Cordes, have repainted the center in a five-color range and are considering new signage, she said.
“Besides Tracy, they have four other outlet centers, so some of the new ideas could come from them,” Yager said.
The Walnut Creek-based firm’s other outlet centers are in Anderson (near Redding), in Bend, Ore., in Post Falls, Idaho, and in Pasco, Wash.
The Tracy Outlet Center was opened in November 1994 by McArthur/Glen of McLean, Va., with 35 retailers. Two years ago, it had 21 businesses.
Yager noted that despite the empty storefronts, Tracy Outlets still has some solid retail establishments, including Levi’s, Carter’s children’s wear, Famous Footwear, Lane Bryant, Corning-Revere and Hip-Gen.
“I just hope Tracy residents realize that our center is located in their hometown, and that we really want to provide the kind of shopping they want,” the center manager said. “We’re working hard to find the right niche.”
As Glenn Moore’s coverage of progress in creating a new football stadium at Tracy High School indicates, the current weather pattern of mostly sunny days is moving the project along at a good clip.
Originally, the construction schedule called for the project to be completed in time to hold Tracy High’s graduation ceremonies at the new Wayne Schneider Stadium at the end of May.
That’s still a hope, but Superintendent Jim Franco of Tracy Unified School District indicated earlier this week that the project may not be completed until sometime in June, and Tracy High graduation would have to be held at West High’s Steve Lopez Stadium.
But, he added, there’s still hope that with good weather, the Tracy High stadium could be ready for graduation day. It’s going to be a photo finish.
• Sam Mathews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.