Midwest Living Review
For four days each spring, 60,000 people descend on Fort Wayne's War Memorial Coliseum (some even camp out overnight on the sidewalk) for the annual Vera Bradley outlet sale. This guerilla-style shopping extravaganza isn't for the faint of heart. But for hard-core devotees who don't mind waiting in line for hours, there are some fabulous bargains.
Inventory includes VB's signature quilted cotton totes, luggage, handbags, travel items, accessories, stationery and more. Everything within the 105,000-square-foot expo hall is marked down at least 65 percent, and discounts get deeper each day. Facebook status updates and Tweets keep shoppers in the know about on-the-spot markdowns and wait times.
Each shopper receives a big pink plastic trashbag to stuff with up to $2,500 worth of product. Having second thoughts about something? Toss it into a reject bin to be sorted and restocked. On-site shipping is a nice touch for shoppers who've traveled from long distances. A huge supporter of breast cancer research, Vera Bradley also raffles off a pink patterned quilt each year and offers a selection of pink-ribbon apparel to raise money for the cause.
With so many women vying for a limited number of the most in-demand items, things have the potential to get ugly. Fortunately, the cool-as-a-cucumber staff keeps the chaos under control.