Bucking the global economic malaise, a massive new retail giant in north Utah County has announced a huge expansion to keep up with demand.

The Outlets at Traverse Mountain in Lehi will expand in two phases, one immediate and one next year. The expansion will bring between 150 and 200 part-time and full-time jobs, said Teri Sunderland, general manager for the outlets.

Constructing a second phase was always in the plans, but the speed at which the demand materialized surprised even management.

"I don't think even I had imagined this next phase would already be in the works," she said. "It says a lot about the success of the property and our outlet value. Shoppers don't want to pay full price, and we give them the brands they want. I think really good things are to come. We've come off a really great summer and back-to-school season, and we welcome anyone who hasn't been here yet. It is a joyful place to shop. I love the outdoor coziness."

Among the new stores opening this fall, shoppers will find "high-quality, on-trend clothing and accessories from American Eagle Outfitters Factory Store and classic outdoor lifestyle clothing and gear from Eddie Bauer Outlet. Additionally, Bona Vita Italian Bistro, an authentic, full-service restaurant, and Zogo Natural Yogurt, will offer more dining options," said Heather Nash, marketing director, in a statement. "We are excited to announce these new retail and dining options to Outlets at Traverse Mountain. And we are especially thrilled they will be open in time for the holiday shopping season."

A second phase of construction at the new mall beginning this fall will double the size of the mall, making room for, among other stores, "one of the world's largest fashion retailers, H&M, set to open in a new 23,000 square foot space in spring 2014," said Outlet officials.

The high-end outdoor mall opened less than a year ago with 40 stores, and will have 48 stores by the end of the year.

To celebrate their success, Outlets at Traverse Mountain is hosting the first annual Shopping Extravaganza event to benefit local charities. All proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club, Child Help Wasatch Front Utah Chapter, Friends of the Food & Care Coalition, Habitat for Humanity of Utah, Kid History Foundation, Make-A-Wish Utah, Project Read, Utah Foster Care Foundation, Yes! Utah Organ Donor Registry and Youth Making a Difference. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $15 per person, which includes lunch, a dessert bar, live entertainment, and opportunities to win $25,000 in prizes and more.

Sunderland said they are on track to raise between $12,000 and $15,000 for local and national charities.

"That money will be 100-percent distributed back to the charities," she said.

Event-goers will get one-day discounts at the stores as well as group photos at a photography station.

"This is a really great opportunity for folks to walk away with gift cards," she said. "It becomes a fun day."

As for the names of the stores that will be joining H&M next year, Sunderland said she is not ready to announce anything yet. H&M will have a large two-story store that will take up the majority of the newly constructed space.

-- Caleb Warnock covers 11 cities in north Utah County and is also the Daily Herald's environmental reporter. You can find him on Facebook and at calebwarnock.blogspot.com.
Read more from Caleb Warnock here.
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