2 buildings will be demolished at the Tanger Outlet Center - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

2 buildings will be demolished at the Tanger Outlet Center

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WEST BRANCH (WJRT) -

(03/06/14) - Shoppers are disappointed to learn that a popular outlet in their area, that attracts people from all across the state, still remains closed.

This comes after a partial roof collapse last week at the Tanger Outlet Center in West Branch.

That's not the only thing that has people concerned. Those shoppers also learned that Polo Ralph Lauren and Hanes Brands stores are being demolished.

They're afraid the local economy will take a hit.

"Just some place that we really need to have around here. It's quite a devastation that it's not in use right now," said Desiree Webb, a shopper.

Webb comes to the Tanger Outlet Center to do most of her shopping. The center that attracts about 1 million people every year has been closed since part of the roof collapsed last week.

"I just feel really bad for the people that work here. They have families and other people to support. There's a lot of other places we can go shopping, just not this close," she said.

Heavy snow is being blamed for the collapse. There's no telling when the shopping destination will open again for business.

"I think right now it's a day-to-day decision. We look at where we've come. We look at where our professionals and what their jobs and their responsibilities are and what they're completing and we evaluate that everyday at the end of the day and then we all regroup and say, 'Alright, we need to remain closed,'" said Kimberly Dane, a spokesperson for the Tanger Outlets.

"It hurts business for West Branch because this is half the reason why people stop on their way through is because there's not a lot of malls in the area unless you go down to Saginaw or Bay City," said Chelsea Donahue, a shopper.

Local businesses, like Applebee's, are also feeling the impact. The restaurant that stands next door to the outlet depends on a lot of the customers who shop there.

"I think a lot of people are assuming that because the mall's closed that we're closed, so we're down a little," said Tom Formsma, the manager of Applebee's.

The demolition process for Polo Ralph Lauren and Hanes Brands stores started Thursday. It will take at least a week and maybe up to 10 days.

The Ogemaw County Sheriff says two customers were hit by ceiling tiles during the collapse, but only had minor injuries.

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