ONTARIO, CA—As California’s largest outlet and value-retail destination, Ontario Mills is constantly adapting to changing demographics and trends. Given its location in Southern California’s rapidly expanding San Bernardino County and close proximity to Los Angeles, as well as the growing number of international flights into Ontario International Airport, travelers from around the globe recognize the center as a top shopping destination. GlobeSt.com caught up with Marc Smith, general manager of the center, to find out their recipe for success.
GlobeSt.com: Ontario Mills has seen a lot of changes recently. Can you tell us what’s been happening?
Marc Smith: At Ontario Mills, we listen to what our shoppers want and strive to offer a diverse mix of stores that meet the many preferences of local and tourist guests alike. We’re continuously searching for both classic and unique brands to add to our directory that elevate the customer experience. For example, in late 2018, we introduced several new retail, dining and entertainment offerings, including adidas, Dockers, MINISO, Nectar Bath Treats and The Mug Shakes. All shoppers were excited for the highly anticipated adidas store to open, and the addition of MINISO has resonated well with our international guests. New style and beauty brands will be arriving at the center in the coming months, just in time for the summer shopping season.
GlobeSt.com: What is driving these changes?
Smith: We are committed to delivering on our reputation. Visitors and locals can take advantage of great deals at some of the most sought-after luxury outlets and value retailers in the world, including Coach, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, kate spade new york, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH and more.
Ontario Mills is more than just a place to shop. It’s crucial we position ourselves as not only a shopping destination, but a place where one could spend all day with friends or family thanks to our added entertainment and unique dining offerings.
GlobeSt.com: How are you appealing to the new generation of young people and families moving to the area?
Smith: With more than 200 stores, dining options and entertainment venues, Ontario Mills offers something for everyone to enjoy, including brands such as Nordstrom Rack, Levi’s Outlet Store, Calvin Klein, J.Crew Factory, Nike Factory Outlet, PacSun, Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet, H&M, Carter’s and more. The diversity in our offerings is further represented by AMC 30 Theatres, Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre, Rainforest Café, Dave & Buster’s, Market Broiler, Johnny Rockets, Blaze Pizza, Build-A-Bear Workshop and LEGO.
To further engage the local community, Ontario Mills hosts family-friendly events throughout the year, including an annual Lunar New Year celebration. For out-of-town visitors, Ontario Mills’ California Welcome Center – the second most visited in the state – offers guests travel tips and recommendations on things to do in the larger Inland Empire and Los Angeles regions. The center also features a visitors’ lounge equipped with electronic visual displays, interactive digital screens, workstations, branded items, refreshments for purchase and more – perfect for all visitors looking for some rest and relaxation in between shopping.
Today, shopping centers are about more than finding the perfect pieces to complete your wardrobe or to style your home. It’s important to provide guests with a social experience and Ontario Mills continues to elevate its offerings to serve as a hub that this new generation of consumers can enjoy together.
GlobeSt.com: How do you see Ontario Mills evolving over the next five years?
Smith: Ontario Mills will continue to serve as the premier Southern California shopping destination for residents and tourists, evolving our retailer, dining and entertainment offerings to stay on top of shopping trends and meet the diverse needs of guests.