National Harbor Among Chain Store Age’s 2021 Top Retail Experiences

CHAIN STORE AGE – “You say National Harbor and I say, ‘Milt Peterson,’ said Paul Weinschenk. “He loved land. He thought different pieces of land had different personalities, and he thought of National Harbor like Marilyn Monroe.”

Milt Peterson was the founder of Peterson Companies, which owns and operates National Harbor. Weinschenk, the company’s president of retail, said that Peterson knew that there was something special about this mile and a half of land on the Potomac River, so he bought it—and then spent a couple of decades figuring out what to do with it.

What he did was something special. National Harbor is home to 160 stores, 40 restaurants, 2,500 residents, and the Capital Wheel—a 180-ft.-high observation wheel offering views of the nation’s capital, Maryland, and Virginia. Its Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is the East Coast’s largest non-gaming hotel and convention center. Two years ago, Topgolf arrived. Because its population is largely transient, full of conventioneers and tourists, its retail mix ranges from essential to luxurious to outlet. Yes, Tanger has a center in National Harbor.

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