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Storm shuts Tanger outlet in Riverhead

At the Tanger Outlet Center in Riverhead on

At the Tanger Outlet Center in Riverhead on Sunday a parking lot usually packed five days before Christmas was empty but for mountains of snow. While Christmas music played, walkways and stores took on the feel of a ghosttown. (Dec. 20, 2009) Photo Credit: Newsday / Mark Harrington

The Tanger Outlet Center in Riverhead shut down entirely Sunday, because of the storm, on what many consider one of the busiest shopping days of the holiday season.

While Christmas music continued to play in the parking lot, the walkways and stores were silent - and the parking lots were empty, but for mountains of snow.

A sign on the mall - as well as messages posted to Tanger's Web site and on its voice mail - said the outlets were closed.

General manager Janine Nebons said as of yesterday evening her staff had hoped to open today. But by this morning, when a snow emergency was declared for Riverhead, those plans changed.

"The fact of the matter is we've got 1,500 employees that need to get to work and we just wouldn't jeopardize anybody's safety," Nebons said. "As much as you want to be open and be ready to go, you also have to be realistic."

Nebons said the outlet planned to reopen Monday.

Still, there were those who braved the weather to stop at Tanger on the Sunday before Christmas - only to have to go elsewhere.

"I'm going to have to travel all over" to find another place to shop, said Havier Mosquera, who drove from Queens with his family to the Riverhead mall for last-minute holiday shopping.

Manhattan resident Larry Lediger had hoped to find an open restaurant after an unplanned hotel stay nearby. Tanger restaurants, however, were closed, too.

"There's no place to get anything to eat," Lediger said.

Meanwhile, Tanger's Deer Park outlet, known as The Arches, opened at noon Sunday - three hours later than scheduled, said general manager Curt Fickeisen. The majority of stores opened, Fickeisen said, although he noted that he wasn't sure whether the mall would stay open all day.

"If this was mid-January or mid-February, it might be a different story, but five days before Christmas, we want to give our shoppers all the time they need," he said.

But an hour and a half after opening, the Carter's outlet at The Arches hadn't had a single customer, said store manager Monica Pachecl, who said she was thinking of closing early, especially since traveling the local roads had been difficult.

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