New employees at Palm Beach Outlets feel lucky to have landed a job

With the final coat of paint comes a fresh start for the Palm Beach Outlets, and for each of the more than 1,500 new employees.

"When they offered me the position I just jumped on it," said Rita Duke.

Hanging up her days as an Army nurse, Rita thought she would try retail, and joined the team at Carter's and Osh Kosh B'Gosh.

"I was looking for a place where I could use some of my skills in leadership that I had previously and also a place I'd like to work, that was fun to work," said Rita.

Out of work, she stood in line for hours in January at a job fair for the outlets.

"I had an umbrella and I stood there in line, in heels, but it's worth it. Just bringing the jobs, people feel good, they want to work, no one wants to sit at home and this has brought so many opportunities," said Rita.

Opportunities that were lost over the last decade as the Palm Beach Mall slowly disappeared. Rita says the shopping site has been transformed into something the community can be proud of.

"Having pride in it when you do have it all finished, it's just fun to set something up right from scratch. I mean, there was nothing in the store when we came in. I feel like part of a family, not just part of a job," said Rita.

Meanwhile, construction crews are doing last minute tests ahead of Friday's grand opening. The fire alarms and phone systems were all being checked Thursday. Cleaning crews could be seen making last minute sweeps.

Store shelves were stocked with merchandise that came in just under the wire.

"They're finishing up on the visual merchandise, making sure the registers work, our employees are being trained right now and we'll be ready to go for tonight," said George Kingsmill of Carter's.

Special sales and deals are being offered at many stores to attract customers on opening weekend.

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