Relationships are what Stacey Nance cares about the most.
It explains why she grew up and then settled on a career in her native Indiana.
And it is also why, after nearly two decades with Simon Property Group, she is taking the next big step in her life and her career.
Nance took the reins as general manager of Tampa Premium Outlets in May.
The regional outlet mall is the first major retail development in Pasco County since The Shops at Wiregrass opened in October 2008.
For Nance, the job opportunity is her first move away from Indiana, and her first time to take the lead in opening a Simon mall.
She graduated from Ball State College in Muncie, Indiana.
For 18 years, Nance has carved out a fast-paced career in marketing and later in mall management with Simon Property Group, again in Muncie.
She stayed in Muncie, despite working for a company that is the largest mall owner in the nation and also owns real estate properties all over the world.
“For the longest time I didn’t want to leave, because I wanted to raise my son in one community and in one school (district),” Nance said.
But, with her son’s graduation from college, the time felt right for a change. So, Nance jumped at the challenge to be in charge at Tampa Premium Outlets.
She knew after one quick visit that she wanted to set down roots in a new community.
“From the moment I was in the Wesley Chapel area, it made me feel so welcome,” Nance said. “My personality is that I love to form relationships and partnerships. That’s exactly what I want to continue here.”
The 441,000-square-foot outlet mall is set to open the weekend of Oct. 29 through Nov. 1.
The “Key West” style outlet center will feature 110 shops with widely known brands, such as Ralph Lauren, Saks Off Fifth, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and Vera Bradley.
The mall is in the spotlight as a driver of the local economy, a job generator and a regional draw for shopaholics.
Since arriving in May, Nance has put together a management team and immersed herself in the daily details and long-range planning for opening the mall.
Now, with the mall’s opening less than two months away, the anticipation is growing.
“We can’t imagine the amount of pride we’re going to have cutting the ribbon (for the mall),” Nance said.
At a recent job fair, Nance and her team oversaw logistics for an event that attracted more than 3,000 applicants in the hunt for more than 800 jobs the mall offers.
It was the first time Nance had the chance for face-to-face meetings with some of the mall’s tenants.
That personal connection was right up her alley.
“It gives them the opportunity to meet with me and start direct relationships,” she said. “I’m very much a people person.”
At Ball State, Nance earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and management, with a specialization in sales and promotion. Her first job was as marketing director for a financial institution.
But, she said, “I needed additional challenges and professional growth.”
She started with Simon Property Group as marketing director at Muncie Mall. She worked there for nine years and then shifted into mall management. She was put in charge of overall operations at Muncie Mall, Muncie Plaza and Northwood Plaza in Indiana.
Management is her niche now.
“It’s so diverse,” Nance said. “I’ll work with a team, but on any given day I’ll do marketing, public relations or community relations.”
In the past, she has been part of a team that has pitched in to pull off opening day at a mall. This is her first time being in charge.
“When somebody really thinks about that, from below ground to the top of the roof, is our responsibility,” she said. “It’s an entire team that can pull off the opening of the entire center.”
The goal is to create a mall that feels as if it’s a gathering place.
“We want them (people) to come, and meet friends and family, just congregate,” Nance said. “Have a nice day out, and hang out in the mall.”
As she settles into her job, Nance also is planting roots in her new Florida community.
She recently closed on a new house, and expects to stay here for a long time.
“Now, this is my home,” she said. “I’m not a mover.”
Published September 9, 2015