Airport Business

MAY 2017

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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COVER STORY May 2017 airportbusiness 25 Why is it important for airports to offer locally based food, beverage and retail concepts? Because consumers are demanding it, said trends expert Daniel Levine, a director at the Avant-Guide Institute consultancy. "There is a strong trend at the moment toward consumers wanting things that are made locally, that feel more healthful, unique and special," said Levine. "And because trends don't operate in a vacuum, we are expecting to find these offerings in airport environments as well as downtown shopping centers." Airport retailers can raise profits by raising the bar on what customers perceive as local and unique, said Levine. "As shopping venues, airports are in a special position to trade off their very real position as gateways into and out of distinctive local environments," he noted. "It's not news that airport retailers can do big business with place-name- logo products, but from a trends perspective, we would encourage businesses to up the ante with the most unique local gifts they can find." San Francisco International Airport won awards for its conces- sions program, including ACI-NA's Richard A. Griesbach Award of Excellence in 2013. Cheryl Nashir, the airport's director of revenue development and manage- ment, said there are two reasons why having local concepts are important. "One, we believe it's what customers now want to see in our airport. They want to know that they're in San Francisco," she said. "Two, our city has a famous and fantastic culinary tradition. We also have a strong commitment to local busi- nesses and want to work with as many of them as possible." Steve Baker is the deputy vice pres- ident for customer and concessions development at Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWA A), which manages Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International airports. "When someone shows you a photo, the first thing you look for is yourself. If we are the airport of the nation's capital, it's only natural that we want to reflect ourselves," he said. From a business perspective, MWAA wants customers to know the airports not only represent the capital, but the United States as they transfer to other cities, said Baker. "So it's important that we reflected the D.C. area at National and the U.S. at Dulles," he said. Jim Halbrook is the public information and marketing manager at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas, where "Keep Austin Weird" is the city's slogan. "For us, it's all about a sense a place and representing the community that you serve," he stated. "Austin is a great and unique destination. It's an O&D airport and the gateway to the city, so it's important that passengers can see, hear and taste Austin in the terminal." For Tiffany Green, managing deputy commis - sioner of revenue for the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), her two airports — O'Hare and Midway — offer the first impressions of the city. "Fifty percent of our passengers never leave the airport, so we want them to reimagine their journey and have memorable experiences in the airport that reflect Chicago," she said. THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS IN BUILDING SUCCESS IN 2001, Juanita "Busy Bee" Britton, an African-American business- woman, partnered with Paradies Lagardère to open a Brooks Brothers store at Reagan Washington National Airport. "I had already been around the airport business for five years, working as a secret shopper and as a stager during the unveiling of the renovated Main Hall," she said. The Victoria's Secret in the Main Hall closed and there was an opportunity to partner with Paradies, said Britton. "They had won the deal to bring in Brooks Brothers and needed a hands- on partner. Someone identified me, we had a meeting and decided to work together," he said. Paradies has everything in-house, from building to training, said Britton. "But as their partner, I took on customer training, staff hiring, merchandising and ordering," she said. "I knew they had plans to grow bigger, so I needed to learn as much as possible so I could show my ability to operate stores." But then the 9/11 attacks happened just 12 weeks after the store opened, said Britton. "It was the biggest deal of my life and it was stressful. After 9/11, I had to lay off the entire staff." But having a great partner helps you recover, said Britton. "We rebuilt slowly, but we had a good backbone and were able to survive. Fourteen months later, we were back on track," she said. Since then, Britton, founder of BZB International Inc., has become part owner in 21 of the best-known national brands at National and Dulles airports, including Spanx, Brighton Collectibles, Heritage Books, the Washington Pour Bar gastro pub, U Street Pub, Wow Bao Asian cuisine and the newly revitalized Magic Pan Crepes. She opened her 21st store, Pei Wei Asian Diner, in February 2017 at Dulles. Britton's advice to others wanting to bring concepts to the airport is to join associations like Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC), who can help with the process. "You should also take courses to understand what you're getting into, because airports are very different from street businesses," she said. "Finally, get a mentor in the business so you're equipped with knowledge." Flying Balalaika Brothers - on stage at Ray Benson's Roadhouse in Austin- Bergstrom International Airport. Sandy L. Stevens

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