Beaver Creek Commons is the shopping center of choice in Apex, NC, and draws many folks from surrounding Cary, Morrisville, Holly Springs, and Fuquay-Varina. This open-air concept shopping area has big box stores from SuperTarget and Lowe's to PetSmart and everything in between. There's a Regal Cinema as well. Other draws include Borders Books, Justice! for Girls, and Old Navy. A great variety of chain restaurants, including Chick-Fil-A, Panera, Qdoba, and Rita's Water Ice fill out the offerings.Linens & Things and Circuit City, victims of the current economic crisis, are gone. However, a new HH Gregg is going up adjacent to the center.
The draws to Beaver Creek are numerous: because it is relatively new (2004), the stores are all shiny and new, the store fronts are modern, and the layout is reasonably workable. There's ample parking. Additionally, there is a huge variety in the offerings: parents can shop for kids of both sexes at Old Navy and Justice! (next door to one another) and then stop next door at Borders for a magazine and a latte.
If the kids have been extra good, there's a Cold Stone Creamery. Target is always a great draw, but this one is the only SuperTarget for miles around. This means shoppers can stop in for lunch, going on a clothing shoppong spree (did I mention Kohls?), get everything they need to winterize their lawns at Lowes, catch a movie, and then do a complete supermarket shop at Target (and peruse the clearance endcaps for must-haves like out-of-season pet collars and maternity wear).
And when compared to other similar shopping areas like Brier Creek in Raleigh and Crossroads in Cary, Beaver Creek wins, mostly for navigability: Brier Creek shoppers may have to cross Glenwood/70 to get to Wal Mart or Moe's after shopping at Michael's. And Crossroads is a visual and logistical nightmare. Beaver Creek is located off State Road 55 in Apex, and meanders back in several different sub-sections.
Perhaps the biggest negative is that shoppers may well have to repeatedly get in and out of their cars to complete a shopping trip. Lunch at Panera is walkable to PetSmart and GameStop, but not to the Regal Cinema or Borders. Additionally, this is no place for locally owned small businesses, though there is a Kid-to-Kid consignment shop (always nice to see in tough economic times). These are all major, well-known chain stores.
Shoppers seeking quaint, unique, mom-and-pop shops needn't dispair; downtown Apex is a historic, charming, totally walkable shopping area with all kinds of interesting shops and dining experiences. But that's for another article.