Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter
Retailers say the President George Bush Turnpike Eastern Extension has given shoppers more access to deals since opening.
This Black Friday, retailers in the eastern part of the Metroplex are gearing up for the first full holiday shopping season since the President George Bush Turnpike Eastern Extension opened last year.
It's the first full holiday shopping season for the Firewheel Town Center and shopping area since the turnpike opened only a few days before Christmas 2011. The opening has given surrounding areas a development momentum they haven't seen for years.
Normally Black Friday shoppers dread the crowds coming, but on the busiest shopping day of the year more people will have better access to the dealsc with the Eastern Extension.
Koltain Leszcynski has been camping out for days.
"There's a lot of people here since the Bush Turnpike opened, there's more traffic, it's easier to get here for more people," said Leszcynski.
Retailers said the turnpike's impact has been huge.
"We've definitely seen sales and traffic increase over the past few months. Our retailers are reporting that for the first time they've seen shoppers from the Mesquite area, Rockwall, Rowlett," said director of marketing Glenda Garcia. "Even Murphy, Wylie, Sachse, so it's really connected the Eastern half of the Dallas Metroplex that never had easy access to the property."
Sabina Virk drove from Murphy to take advantage of open stores.
"It has really helped people connect and come here more. I have never seen so many crowds here, ever since the George Bush Turnpike got built, people are pouring from all directions," said Virk.
The turnpike has also spurred more development at the mall, Firewheel is about to double the number of apartments at the town center to 600, and add more stores.
Residents said it's a way to keep their tax dollars local.
"It was tough because the gas to get to Plano or Town East was pretty expensive," added Leszcynski.
"The people of Murphy, Garland, Sachse would have to travel 10, 15, 20 minutes to access the nearest shopping center, they don't have to do that anymore," said Garcia.