Ties to state lure new mall manager

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Davilla: ‘It’s a destination I wanted to be in.’

By Lisa King

When Dan Davilla learned that his company would be opening an outlet mall in Kentucky, he jumped at the opportunity to move.

The only unusual part was that Davilla had just opened a brand new mall, in Woodstock, Ga., just outside Atlanta.

“I opened the mall in Atlanta [last year], and coming to the outlet shoppes, it’s a destination that I wanted to be in; it feels natural to me,” he said. “My wife’s from Kentucky and my company is building a mall there, so it worked out great.”

And his experience with opening new malls should turnout to be Simpsonville’s benefit. The new Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass, a 374,000-square-foot outlet mall south of Intestate 64 on the corner of Buck Creek and Veechdale roads in Simpsonville, is scheduled to open in July, and Davilla can use his recent experience to help make this opening as smooth as possible.

“We want a great grand opening and want it to be as successful as possible, that’s the plan,” he said.

Davilla and his wife, Regina, of Bowling Green, a graduate of Western Kentucky University, have a son, Austin, 16.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Davilla is a graduate of Texas State University, where he earned a degree in criminal justice.

“Yes, I started out as a police officer,” he said. “I was working with security with several malls, and decided to make a career change.”

Davilla said he plans to structure the mall like the one in Woodstock.

“It will be a very similar program," he said. "We like to work a lot with the community, so we’ll be meeting business folks and make a connection there and blend in with community."

Davilla said he has not met any of the retailers yet, but plans to do so soon.

"They’re corporate stores, and they’ll have a manger that’s probably local," he said. "We’ll start off with some mall meetings before we open and go over some rules and regulations and logistics, that kind of stuff. My office will be in the mall."

Along with the retailers staffing their stores, Davilla has been busy screening applicants for the mall's security and maintenance crews.

"We started taking applications for those at the job fair [Tuesday] and I had received several previous to that," he said. " I’ll be looking at those very shortly and hope to make some decisions soon."

Davilla said that since only 30 of the retailers attended the first job fair, another such event could be in the works.

"We’re looking into the possibility of a second job fair," he said. "I would think that the rest of the vendors that didn’t get to attend would be there."

Anyone interesting in applying for a position online may do so at the company's Web site, www.horizongroupproperties.com.