For the past two Black Fridays, King of Prussia Mall was not only the epicenter of Montgomery County's retail scene, it was also a construction zone.
Amid 2 million shoppers, 8,000 seasonal employees and two Santas, the mall also hosted architects, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, drywall installers, painters and tile layers.
This year, however, all is calm, all is bright.
The corridor joining the former Court and Plaza was opened in August, and this Black Friday, the holiday season kicks off with sparkle and music replacing the dust and din.
THE NEW EXPANSION AT KOP MALL PROVIDES A FRESH CANVAS FOR HOLIDAY DECOR.
A new space in the mall means new decorations for the holidays. So over the past few weeks, decorators have refreshed the garland and glitter that has brightened the mall in years past. And in the new corridor, they are unveiling new seasonal sparkle for the 2016 holidays.
Kathy Smith, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Simon Malls, explains the thought behind the new décor: "Our goal was to bring a program into the new connector corridor that complements the existing décor. We wanted to create cohesiveness between the two buildings but maintain a very elegant, contemporary look.
"The corridor itself is so beautiful on its own, the marble tile, the sculpture, the sky-lighting, the storefronts. It's so clean, contemporary and beautiful as-is that we purposefully took a lighter approach. The floor pieces are meant to highlight our planters and to create beautiful sightlines as a customer is walking down the corridor," she says.
Midway through the expansion is Savor, King of Prussia Mall's newest collection of dining options. Woven into the design are open spaces for eating, meeting and just relaxing. Anchoring this space from a decorative standpoint is a new tree, 24 feet high, surrounded by poinsettias.
From there, floor elements create visual highlights that stretch from Savor to Macy's on one side and from Savor to Neiman Marcus on the other. Some are brightly lit trees; others look like water fountains frozen in place by an icy breeze. The planters in which they sit feature seasonal foliage.
Welcoming visitors from the three new entrances - including the new, high-tech parking structure - are ten-foot-tall reindeer, each leaping majestically over a decorated fir tree.
TEN-FOOT-TALL REENDEER WELCOME VISITORS AT THE MALL'S THREE NEW ENTRANCES.
"We designed the new décor so that no matter where you enter, you're greeted with one of those elegant pieces. It's all so very beautiful," Smith says.
According to Smith, familiar meet-and-greet spots for Santa - located in Bloomingdale's Court and Nordstrom's Court - are back, with refreshed accents. But sharp-eyed mall regulars may notice that their traditional orientations have been changed slightly.
"We have two Santa sets, as we have for many, many years," Smith explains. "One is what we call the singing tree - that's the one with the toys and teddy bears and Jack-in-the-boxes. That one usually went by Bloomingdale's. And we have the carousel set with the horses. That one was always by Nordstrom's.
THANKS TO SOME HOLIDAY MAGIC, YOU CAN MEET SANTA AT ONE OF TWO LOCATIONS IN THE KOP MALL.
"We flip-flopped them last year," Smith continues. "And we liked it.
"When we moved the carousel set to the Bloomingdale's Court, we found it to be a really good fit for that space. It feels new to everybody on that side."
Smith described similar results in moving the singing tree. The new sightlines served it well, and replacing some of its floor elements brought a completely refreshed feel.
Holiday shoppers wanting to not only see the new decorations but also get a jump on gift buying can take advantage of additional hours of operation at King of Prussia Mall. Montgomery County's retail mecca opens from 6 p.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. the following morning.
On Black Friday itself, doors open at 6 a.m. and don't close until 10 p.m.
Weekend hours are as usual, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
For more on holiday shopping throughout Montgomery County, visit our Destination Shop Montco website. We also have details for Small Business Saturday, highlighting retailers in our unique places like Ardmore and Skippack.
We also have extensive information online about accommodations for holiday guests for the long Thanksgiving weekend, as well as the remainder of the holiday season. We present details not only on hotels but also a full array of things to do while friends and family are here.