Name: Maura Eggan
Job: Vice president of marketing, Western region
Company: Premium Outlets
What they said then:
In February 2009, The Tribune noted that a Nike store was opening in the Prime Outlets in Pismo Beach.
The 7,500-square-foot store provided an anchor for the center’s 40 shops, outlet administration said. In late 2008, general manager Joseph Scott said the opening was part of an effort to attract more companies with brand-name recognition, such as Gymboree and Calvin Klein.
“It’s a strategic plan to upgrade the merchandising at the shopping center,” he said then.
What they say now:
On Aug. 30, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group — traded on the NYSE as SPG — purchased Prime Outlets, acquiring its 22 centers — including the one in Pismo Beach — in a $2.3 billion transaction.
The local center is now called Pismo Beach Premium Outlets, part of Simon’s Premium Outlets subsidiary.
The Pismo Beach center is well-placed for its new owner’s tourism strategies, said Maura Eggan, Premium’s Napa-based vice president of marketing for the Western region.
“It’s right off the freeway,” Eggan said. “It’s one of the most visited in the state because of its location. Everyone’s on (Highway) 101 at some point.”
Simon is the largest real estate company in the United States, with interest in 393 retail properties in North America, Europe and Asia. It employs more than 5,000 people worldwide.
Premium Outlet’s portfolio includes stores in 26 states, Puerto Rico, Japan and Korea. Ten are in California, including outlets in Gilroy and Camarillo. Eggan said the company is adding a center in Malaysia.
In Pismo, Eggan didn’t foresee significant changes in management or store occupancy. Joseph Scott will remain general manager.
Continuing its focus on well-known brands, Pismo Beach Premium Outlets will open a Guess store in early October.
The California welcome center located onsite is also a “big deal” in luring shoppers, Eggan said.
“It used to be ‘attraction’ meant Disneyland or Hearst Castle,” she added. “Now ‘attraction’ means shopping.
“Asians are very brand conscious,” said Eggan, adding that currency rates can make a shopping spree in the states a bargain. “The dollar is still so weak to many parts of the world.”
Premium Outlets spends a significant portion of marketing efforts on tourism-related trade shows and outreach.
It coordinates travel agent and media visits with the California Commission on Trade and Travel.
By drawing attention to Pismo Beach at such events, the company hopes to boost tourism to the Central Coast and its other outlet destinations.
“California is a sexy place,” Eggan said. “People want to go to New York and California. They want to do that drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It’s one of the most gorgeous drives in the world.”
— Raven J. Railey