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VIP Night raises $100,000

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Shoppers, organizers pleased with event

By Ashley Wilkins

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center raised more than $100,000 from donations, silent auctions and ticket sales for Wednesday VIP preview night for the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.

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The amount doubled $50,000 raised for charity at Oklahoma City’s outlet opening and is $40,000 more than the Atlanta outlet raised at its VIP night.

Patrons who attended the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass for the VIP event not only had the opportunity to shop the outlets first, but also were treated to carriage rides, hors d'oeuvres, entertainment, music, beverages, and special sales.

Jill Scoggins, University of Louisville Associate Director of Communications, said more than 2,000 patrons attended and she felt the evening was a success.

Scroggins said she the $50 tag wasn’t a deterrent because “it’s going to a good cause people believe in and you get to shop.”

While some stores had a couple small glitches, the overall shopping experience was relaxing and calm. Lines remained short and spirits high as shoppers socialized and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Costumed burlesque entertainers, the Va Va Vixens from Louisville took photos with shoppers, as bartenders served beverages.

Shopper Lara Needham said the experience was well worth the money.

“The anticipation alone has been worth the $50,” she said, explaining that she and her mother purchased their tickets as a joint birthday gift.

Most stores had minimal crowds but a long line formed around the perimeter of the Coach store, with patrons waiting in line and applauding as the doors first opened.

Only a handful of shoppers were permitted to enter the store at a time, keeping a line around the store most of the night. Once inside many rushed to a section of bags, clutches and wallets marked as high as seventy percent off.

Michael Kors also saw a nice crowd during the VIP night.

“The response from the customers has been phenomenal,” store manager Ben Byrn said.

A fairly new store to the area, Byrn said a Michael Kors store recently opened in Louisville and another is planned.

“Kentucky is about to meet Michael in a big way,” Byrn said.

Ghirardelli General Manager James Lee said he wasn’t worried at all about the crowds for opening weekend.

“The more the merrier,” he said with a smile.

Lee said the evening went very smoothly and was enjoyable.

As the event came to a conclusion, satisfied shoppers retreated to the parking lot with their arms filled with shopping bags.

Many shoppers literally rode off into the sunset as they were treated to a horse-drawn carriage ride to their vehicles.