The plans for changes began about a year ago, according to Lisa Neumeyer, manager of the Sikeston Factory Outlet stores. Neumeyer explained she and the mall's owner, Philip Boyer, were looking for a new shopping experience for the SFOS customers.
"We had some stores leave. It wasn't because they weren't doing well here but because of corporate changes," she explained. "And we wanted to stay in tune with the market."
They didn't want to play second fiddle either, so Neumeyer along with their leasing agent Brad Evans of Sundance and Associates went to one of the nation's premier outlet companies - VF Factory Outlet. VF Factory Outlet is a name brand outlet with stores in 27 states. Brands featured include Vanity Fair, Lee, Healthtex, Wrangler and Jansport. When VF accepted their proposal to move to the Sikeston-Miner location, there was work to be done, said Neumeyer.
VF required 24,000 square feet for their outlet, making it the largest store in the complex. Five former store spaces were cleared, walls knocked out and new space created. A large loading dock was built at the back of the building for VF Outlet and a trash compactor installed.
To make room for VF, Rue 21, Factory Brand Shoes, Fashion Nails, M.J.'s Jewelry and Leathers and Book Warehouse were approached about moving within the center. "Some selected buildings with more room; each of the five's facilities now has new fixtures, new paint, new everything," said Neumeyer. These improvements were completed earlier this year while work on the VF Outlet is still under way. Neumeyer said as the facility is completed this month, the 35 employees will be working to stock the store and prepare for a tentative April 19 opening date.
"All of the tenants are extremely excited about the addition of VF," said Neumeyer. "They expect VF to bring in a lot of additional traffic."
On April 26 grand opening activities are planned. There will be clowns, music, refreshments and a variety of giveaways, including 1,000 special VF teddy bears.
As part of the VF grand opening, the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores is planning a 10th anniversary celebration. A drawing will be conducted April 26 for a shopping spree at the SFOS.
Owned by Boyer Construction Co., the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores opened in 1993 offering 34 stores in a 115,000-square-foot mall-like shopping center, visible from Interstate 55. Boyer initially had intended simply to construct a free-standing outlet store for one business, but the idea expanded to include a grouping of stores. By 1994, the center was filled and has continued to change and evolve.
"Our stores have performed well," said Neumeyer about business. "Some are No. 1 in their regions."
While there have been changes over the years, the mall manager said this is just part of the business. She added the changes won't stop either. Neumeyer said in May the SFO Stores will add K.B. Toys. Also they are actively trying to recruit a major restaurant to locate in the center of the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores' parking lot.
"We feel like with the addition of VF and K.B. Toys and our new look that this will be a good year," said Neumeyer. She went on to describe the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores as an center with wide appeal to local and regional shoppers.
"We have people from all over traveling 55 and stopping in, plus we appeal to the group tour market. People making day trips from Memphis or St. Louis for stops in Sikeston - Miner for fun, business and to eat at Lambert's include the Sikeston Factory Outlet as one of their stops," said Neumeyer.
In addition to the soon-to-open VF Outlet and K.B. Toy Outlet, the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores include Bass Company Store, Bible Factory Outlet, Big Dogs, Bon Worth, Book Warehouse, Carter's Children's Wear, Dress Barn/Dress Barn Woman, Factory Brand Shoe, Fashion Nails, Fifty Off, Full Size Fashions, Hush Puppies Factory Direct, Kitchen Collection, L'eggs Hanes Bali Playtex, M.J.'s Jewelry and Leathers, Paper Factory, Rue 21, Van Heusen and Welcome Home.
The Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.