NIAGARA FALLS N.Y. (WIVB) – The countdown until Christmas Day is on, and it’s drawing many shoppers to the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.

“It’s good to get out instead of just shop online, bring malls back to life,” said Ben Clark who was out holiday shopping Saturday. “This one is a little busier than some of the other malls in the area but it’s good to see faces again because of the pandemic.”

“Almost done. I hate waiting till the last minute, just because a lot of people wait so I like to get it done,” said Caitlin Barker who was finishing up her holiday shopping.

General manager John Doran says the number of shoppers they’ve seen this season has exceeded their expectations and that it’s a big difference compared to how the mall looked like last year.

Friday was great, Saturday is doubly as great,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the traffic we’re seeing today.”

Business owner TJ Miller is also pleased with the number of shoppers. He opened his store, Home Today, Home Decor, in the Outlets on Saturday. He says during the grand opening there was a line of shoppers.

“It was such a blessing to see that and to hear customers waiting to come here,” Miller said. “It’s been unfortunately a crazy ride because of the pandemic and we’ve been almost 2 months delayed in opening. We planned on opening in October but we’re here now and people are excited about it.”

Mall officials say another factor bringing more shoppers this year is because the border is open to Canadians again. Doran says the Outlets have seen thousands of shoppers from Canada since the border opened on November 8th.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter from Buffalo, N.Y. who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.