As it enters its 17th year of operation, officials with The Shops at Highland Village are still working to bring shoppers a fresh mix of businesses to go along with mainstay merchants.

Located on Justin Road, or FM 407, in Highland Village, The Shops is experiencing renewed popularity with shoppers, said Ravi Wadhwa, the development’s senior general manager.

Shoppers will see construction activity in the coming months, with the parking lot near the Cheesecake Factory being renovated. Wadhwa said the southern and northern courtyards will be redesigned with new amenities in place.

The overview

Highland Village City Manager Paul Stevens and Community Development Coordinator Autumn Aman said the shopping center has been critical for the city’s economy. Stevens said the center accounted for $928,000 of yearly sales tax revenue in fiscal year 2022-23.

“That’s roughly 17% of our total city sales tax,” Stevens said.

Stevens said the city had $1.6 million in sales tax revenue in 2022 as the pandemic was waning and people got out more. The Shops can rebound again with new businesses, he said.

“All of that helps recruit other businesses as well,” Stevens said.

The Shops at Highland Village saw a rebound in its number of visitors in 2021 and 2022. Through Dec. 15, data showed it had seen 3.1 million visitors over the previous 12-month span. That outpaced the number of visitors at both the Highlands of Flower Mound and the Robertson’s Creek developments.

Current situation

The Shops currently has close to 70 merchants, though space is available, Wadhwa said.

The shopping center remains a retail-only venture, as a zoning change for a multifamily development failed to launch in 2023.

The Shops is focused on leasing the open spaces at the center, but they keep customers in mind, Wadhwa said.

“Most places I have gone into have a personal touch—it doesn’t feel like a rushed mall,” said shopper Manny Rodriguez of Flower Mound.

What they’re saying

Jim Verfurth owns Shoal Creek Tavern, which opened in 2017, and Lambeau’s America Kitchen and Taps, which opened in 2019. Verfurth said he and the community benefit from The Shops.

Nasr Bros. Owner Elie Nasr said The Shops provides opportunities for growth and for businesses to make first-time and repeat customers. For his business, customers who buy an engagement ring often return for the wedding band.

“Our customers are more like our family—they come and say hello all the time,” said Nasr.

Looking ahead

More businesses are expected to open soon at The Shops.

Body20 and Orange Twist are constructing new spaces, with the former set to open in January and the latter expected to open in February. Orange Twist is an upscale med spa and Body20 is an electric muscular simulator training business. Dragon House, a Chinese restaurant, will open in mid-2024.

Tenants at The Shops are doing well, Wadhwa said. He said The Shops is looking for a good mix of larger and smaller tenants. He said he’s excited about the new tenants that will come in 2024 and how that can bode well for the shopping experience.

“We do want to get the big names, the national brands, if possible,” Wadhwa said. “Obviously, for the smaller spaces, we would like the locals as well.”