Unveiling the Charms of Great Lakes Crossing Outlets Mall in Auburn Hills, MI

The Inception and Development of Great Lakes Crossing Outlets

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, a prominent name in Auburn Hills, Michigan‘s retail and entertainment landscape, has a history that is as rich as its diverse array of stores and services. Initially conceptualized as Auburn Mills by Western Development Corporation, the mall faced financial setbacks, leading to the project’s abandonment.

This void paved the way for Taubman Centers, a subsidiary of Simon Property Group, to reshape the site’s destiny. In 1998, Taubman Centers seized the opportunity and laid the foundation for the largest outlet mall in Michigan.

On November 12, 1998, Great Lakes Crossing made its grand debut, introducing a novel shopping experience to the residents of Auburn Hills and beyond. The mall’s strategic location and expansive retail floor area of 1.355 million square feet positioned it as a pivotal player in the region’s retail sector.

The development phase of Great Lakes Crossing was marked by meticulous planning and strategic tenant selection. Taubman Centers, renowned for their expertise in creating vibrant shopping environments, curated a mix of over 170 stores and services.

The mall’s architecture was designed to offer a seamless shopping experience, with stores and services strategically placed to maximize foot traffic and consumer engagement. Great Lakes Crossing was a comprehensive shopping destination, including anchor stores such as Sears, JCPenney, Phar-Mor, Waccamaw Pottery, and many specialty stores.

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets is a prominent highlight among the things to do in Detroit, Michigan. Its dedication to quality, variety, and an unparalleled shopping experience consistently attracts shoppers and visitors.

The journey from the mall’s inception to its development is not just a tale of transforming a piece of land into a bustling mall; it’s a narrative of how visionary ideas when executed precisely, can create landmarks that stand the test of time.

Adapting and Thriving: The Post-Opening Journey of Great Lakes Crossing Outlets

The early 2000s marked the beginning of this journey, with the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau noting the mall’s potential to attract more tourists. Despite competition from other attractions in metropolitan Detroit, the mall’s unique blend of stores and experiences began to draw a wider audience, contributing significantly to the region’s economy.

The mall’s ability to adapt to market trends was evident in its response to the changing retail environment. The early 2000s saw a reshuffling of tenants, with JCPenney closing its outlet store and Circuit City opening in its place, signaling a shift in consumer preferences.

Taubman Centers’ strategic decision to assume total ownership of the mall in 2003 further solidified its commitment to its success and growth.

The mid to late 2000s brought fresh energy to the mall, with new stores like H&M and Urban Behavior targeting younger demographics and enhancing its appeal.

The addition of high-profile tenants like Michael Kors Outlet and Calvin Klein Outlet, along with dining and entertainment options like Bar Louie and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, transformed the mall into a comprehensive lifestyle destination.

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The 2010s marked a significant milestone in the mall’s history, with a rebranding to Great Lakes Crossing Outlets to emphasize its outlet store offerings.

This period saw the introduction of prestigious brands like Lord & Taylor Outlet, Hugo Boss Factory Store, and Talbots Outlet, elevating the mall’s status as a premier shopping destination.

The rebranding was celebrated with grandeur, symbolizing the mall’s evolution and commitment to providing an exceptional shopping experience.

The mall continued to evolve in the late 2010s and into the 2020s, responding to industry challenges and consumer needs. The introduction of Sea Life Michigan and Legoland Discovery Center added a new dimension to the mall’s offerings, making it a family-friendly destination.

The retail industry’s shifts further tested the mall’s agility, leading to strategic store closures and openings, including transforming former retail spaces into a Planet Fitness and a clearance center for Arhaus.

Today, Great Lakes Crossing Outlets is a testament to the enduring appeal of well-curated retail and entertainment experiences. Described by Taubman Centers as “the top tourist shopping destination in Michigan,” the mall continues to attract visitors from near and far, with over 30 percent of annual sales coming from out-of-state tourists.

Its journey post-opening is a narrative of continuous adaptation, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to creating a vibrant shopping and lifestyle hub.

Anchors of the Mall: The Pillars of Great Lakes Crossing

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets is a beacon in the retail world, largely due to its anchor stores, each contributing significantly to the mall’s character and appeal. These anchors draw shoppers with their brand reputation and define the mall’s diverse character.

Bass Pro Shops, an anchor tenant, is more than just a store; it’s an experience. With its immersive outdoor atmosphere and extensive outdoor gear, it has become a destination.

The store’s presence at Great Lakes Crossing adds a unique flavor, attracting shoppers and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the region. Its commitment to providing an authentic outdoor retail experience has made it a cornerstone of the mall, contributing significantly to its foot traffic and overall appeal.

Burlington, known for its great value on high-quality, brand-name merchandise, has been a key player in the mall’s success. Burlington has established itself as a one-stop shop for family shopping and offers a wide selection of coats, clothing, and shoes for the whole family, as well as an assortment of linens and home décor items.

Its presence in the mall ensures visitors can access a wide range of products at competitive prices, making it a go-to destination for value-conscious shoppers.

Marshalls, another anchor at Great Lakes Crossing, brings an ever-changing selection of high-quality, brand-name, and designer merchandise at below-traditional department store and boutique prices.

Its “off-price” business model has been a significant draw for shoppers looking for top brands and the latest styles. Marshalls’ ability to offer a treasure-hunt shopping experience has made it a vital component of the mall, ensuring shoppers return frequently in search of new and exciting finds.

Forever 21 has been a trendsetter in the fast-fashion industry, offering the latest trends at unbeatable prices. Its presence in the mall caters to fashion-forward consumers who want the latest styles without breaking the bank.

The brand’s ability to quickly translate runway trends into in-store collections has garnered a strong following among the youth, infusing the mall’s ambiance with a lively and fresh vibe. 

Nordstrom Rack, a subsidiary of Nordstrom known for its discounted high-end fashion, enriches Great Lakes Crossing with its luxurious yet affordable offerings. This store draws in a crowd eager for upscale brands without the exclusive price tag, adding an element of sophistication to the mall’s shopping experience.

The store’s reputation for high-quality products and exceptional customer service has made it a pivotal anchor, enhancing the mall’s appeal to a more discerning clientele.

TJ Maxx has been a significant draw for the mall with its ever-changing brand name and designer fashions for family and home.

TJ Maxx has established itself as a destination for savvy shoppers, known for offering high-quality, fashionable merchandise at prices generally below traditional department store prices.

Its no-frills retail approach and constantly updated inventory ensure shoppers always find something new and exciting, making it a vital component of the mall’s retail mix.

Together, these anchor stores form the pillars of Great Lakes Crossing, each contributing to the mall’s unique atmosphere and broad appeal. Their presence ensures that the mall offers a comprehensive shopping experience, catering to various tastes, preferences, and budgets.

Famous Stores at Great Lakes Crossing

The mall’s array of famous stores, categorized by their offerings, ensures that every visitor’s shopping needs and desires are met, making it a true haven for shoppers.

In fashion, stores like American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor Factory Store, and Calvin Klein Company Store offer a range of styles from casual to sophisticated. These stores are known for their quality apparel and have become staples for fashion-forward shoppers.

American Eagle Outfitters provides trendy clothing for the younger demographic, while Ann Taylor Factory Store caters to the professional woman seeking stylish yet work-appropriate attire.

Calvin Klein Company Store brings its iconic, modern designs to the mall, offering timeless pieces that resonate with a broad audience.

For those looking for the perfect pair of shoes, stores like Clarks Bostonian Outlet and Skechers Outlet are a step in the right direction.

Clarks offers durable, stylish footwear that combines comfort with craftsmanship, while Skechers provides trendy, casual shoes known for their comfort and versatility. These stores ensure that shoppers’ feet are well-dressed and well-cared-for.

Tech enthusiasts and gadget lovers will find their haven in stores like GameStop and Bose. GameStop is the go-to place for the latest video games and electronics, offering a wide selection of games, consoles, and accessories. Bose, known for its high-quality sound systems, provides audio products that cater to discerning audiophiles.

For those with a sweet tooth or searching for a unique gift, stores like IT’Sugar and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory offer a delightful array of treats. IT’Sugar is a trendy candy store offering an eclectic mix of sweets and novelty gifts.

At the same time, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory provides handcrafted chocolate confections and other sweet treats, perfect for indulging or gifting.

Culinary Delights: Dining Options within the Mall

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets offers more than a premier shopping experience; it’s a destination where culinary delights abound, catering to every palate. The mall’s dining landscape is as diverse as its retail offerings, ensuring a memorable gastronomic journey complements every visit.

The Rainforest Cafe offers a unique dining experience that transports guests into a tropical rainforest setting. Surrounded by lush vegetation, vibrant wildlife animatronics, and captivating sound effects, diners can enjoy a diverse American and international cuisine menu.

This thematic restaurant is not just about the food; it’s an adventure, making every meal an immersive experience. With its engaging atmosphere and family-friendly environment, the Rainforest Cafe stands out as a must-visit destination within the mall, providing an unforgettable escape for shoppers and diners alike.

For those seeking a quick, sweet treat or a refreshing beverage, Alpha Omega Candies and Biggby Coffee stand ready to satisfy.

Alpha Omega Candies is a paradise for those with a sweet tooth, offering an exquisite selection of handmade chocolates and confections that are as delightful to look at as they are to taste.

Nearby, Biggby Coffee provides a cozy retreat for coffee lovers and casual drinkers, serving a wide array of coffee drinks, teas, and light bites in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

When hunger calls for more substantial fare, the mall’s sit-down restaurants offer a range of cuisines to suit any craving.

M Street Baking Company is not just a bakery; it’s a full-service restaurant where visitors can indulge in various baked goods, hearty sandwiches, and an array of delectable desserts made with the freshest ingredients.

For those in the mood for an Asian culinary adventure, Miyako Japanese Steakhouse offers an authentic experience. Here, guests can enjoy traditional Japanese dishes, sushi, and an entertaining hibachi show where skilled chefs prepare meals right before their eyes.

The mall’s dining options extend to include a variety of other cuisines and dining styles. From the classic American fare at Burger King to the unique flavors at Fat Daddy’s Hot Chicken & Waffles, there’s something to satisfy every craving.

Beyond Juicery + Eatery offers a range of healthy and refreshing smoothies, salads, and wraps for those looking for a lighter option. And for an indulgent treat, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory provides a sumptuous selection of chocolate and candy creations that will surely delight you.

Entertainment and Leisure: More Than Just Shopping

The mall’s entertainment offerings are thoughtfully curated to provide a holistic experience, ensuring that every visit is about more than just shopping.

AMC Theatres stands as a centerpiece of the mall’s entertainment landscape. With multiple screens featuring the latest blockbusters and independent films, it offers a cinematic escape for movie enthusiasts.

The state-of-the-art sound and visual systems enhance the viewing experience, making it a perfect leisure activity after shopping. The theatre’s comfortable seating and an extensive selection of snacks ensure a premium movie-going experience for families, couples, and groups of friends.

For families with children, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center offers an interactive adventure that sparks creativity and learning. This indoor attraction is filled with millions of LEGO bricks and provides a range of activities, from building workshops to thrilling rides.

The center also features a 4D cinema and MINILAND, a miniature city built from LEGO bricks, which showcases the timeless toy’s creativity and educational value.

Adjacent to LEGOLAND® is the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, an underwater world teeming with marine life. Visitors can explore different aquatic habitats, interact with sharks, rays, and colorful fish, and learn about marine conservation.

The touch pools and interactive exhibits make it an educational and engaging experience for visitors of all ages, adding an element of discovery to the mall’s offerings.

Round 1 Bowling & Arcade adds another dimension to the mall’s entertainment options. This facility offers various activities, including bowling, arcade games, karaoke, and billiards.

It’s a place where friends and families can compete, celebrate special occasions, or unwind and have fun. The vibrant atmosphere and various games cater to all age groups, making it a popular leisure destination within the mall.

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets’ entertainment and leisure options significantly enhance the shopping experience, providing visitors with a multifaceted destination.

This blend of shopping and entertainment solidifies the mall’s status as a family-friendly destination. It offers something of interest for every visitor and makes each trip an experience to remember.

Evolution and Adaptation: The Mall’s Journey through the Years

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets has navigated the ever-changing retail landscape with a remarkable ability to evolve and adapt, ensuring its relevance and appeal through the years.

This transformation journey is marked by strategic store openings and closures, timely renovations, and astute rebranding efforts to meet consumers’ evolving needs and preferences.

Renaming the mall to Great Lakes Crossing Outlets was a strategic move to emphasize its identity as a premier outlet shopping destination.

This rebranding was accompanied by a marketing campaign highlighting the mall’s unique selling points, including its extensive range of stores, dining options, and entertainment facilities, reinforcing its position as a comprehensive lifestyle destination.

Great Lakes Crossing’s ability to stay relevant in a competitive retail landscape is a testament to its proactive approach to change. By embracing evolution and adapting to the shifting sands of the retail industry, the mall has managed to survive and thrive.

Its journey through the years is a narrative of resilience, innovation, and a deep understanding of consumer behavior, ensuring it remains a preferred destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

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