Make us your home page

Dillard's taps into Wesley Chapel shoppers' impatience

WESLEY CHAPEL — It's about time.

Just about everyone who came Wednesday to the new Dillard's, the first new store to open at the Shops at Wiregrass, said that in so many words.

"I'm ecstatic," said Renee Glassman, 58, of the nearby Meadow Pointe neighborhood. She would have been standing at the door when employees opened it at 10 a.m. but she volunteers at Sand Pine Elementary School.

"The minute I was finished volunteering I was here," said Glassman, who admitted she was "ready to shop."

Managers estimate about 60 people visited the store when the doors opened. The opening was known as a "soft opening," which means it isn't publicized.

"It's practice," said Lisa Rice, manager of the ready to wear department. "It's to make sure everything works."

The 145,000-square-foot store is part of the new outdoor mall, referred to in development circles as a "lifestyle center." The mall now has more than 60 stores, and when fully leased, expects to have 100 shops and restaurants, including a double-decker Barnes & Noble bookstore.

The new mall officially opens Oct. 30. Macy's has its soft opening today, while both department stores have grand openings set for Saturday. JCPenney, which is also one of the anchors, opened in 2005. It is also offering giveaways and promotions.

This morning, shoppers strolled among the racks of designer clothes, high-end cosmetics, fine china and twinkling Christmas trees.

"We moved here two years ago," said Patricia Biasi, 35, who was at the store with her husband, Franco and their 3-year-old daughter, Sofia. "And we've been counting the days. We wanted to be one of the first people to see it."

The family lives in Grand Hampton, just over the Hillsborough County line. The new mall, a first for central Pasco, is big because it will likely lure shoppers — and their sales taxes — north from Hillsborough, which is where east Pasco shoppers, with few exceptions, were forced to drive in order to shop at anything that didn't end with the words "Club" or "Mart."

It also lured 48-year-old Mattie Jones from Dade City.

"I'm glad we finally have something like this, and a Macy's too," said Jones as she looked at replicas of Jacqueline Kennedy's gowns, part of an Oleg Cassini display. The designer sells a line of dresses at Dillard's.

Lisa Buie can be reached at or (813) 909-4604.


What opens next

• Macy's has its soft opening today and its grand opening Saturday.

• Dillard's grand opening celebration is Saturday through Nov. 2 and will feature prize giveaways, fashion shows and special appearances. A ribbon-cutting is set for 9:45 a.m. Saturday.

For more information, visit

Dillard's taps into Wesley Chapel shoppers' impatience 10/22/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 23, 2008 6:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa man pleads guilty to forging check for fake investment

    Personal Finance

    A Tampa resident was convicted Thursday for forging a check for a fake investment. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation said that Eric Franz Peer pleaded guilty. He served 11 months in jail and will have to pay $18,000.

  2. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses


    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  3. Terrier Tri brings unique triathlon training to South Tampa


    Over a decade ago, Robert Pennino traded late nights in the music studio for early mornings in the Terrier Tri cycle studio.

    Terrier Tri, a cycling studio in South Tampa celebrates a grand opening on June 27. Photo courtesy of Tess Hipp.
  4. New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'


    YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

    Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
  5. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]