Posts in the category "Shopping":

Souvenir Sunday at Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport is full of special treats for shoppers who, like me, are always on the lookout for inexpensive, somewhat offbeat, small treasures.

In addition to the treats from the airport’s Kennedy Space Center Gift Shop I featured yesterday on Snack Saturday, during my recent visit at MCO I found these two Hello Kitty items in the Sanrio store.

The orange Hello Kitty key chain fulfills the “something-related-to-a-trip-to-Florida” category and the tissues are just cute and useful.


And, of course, any time spent at Orlando International Airport offers a chance to look around at the airport’s eclectic art collection, which includes work by Jacob Lawrence and this “double-take” sculpture called “The Traveler” by Duane Hanson.


Snack Saturday at Orlando Int’l Airport

Is it a theme park, a mall, a hotel lobby or an airport?


Who cares?

If you’ve got a few hours to wait for a flight, Orlando International Airport is great place to do it.

Especially when it is Snack Saturday and you’re on the look-out for a few food-related souvenirs.

I found these salt & pepper shakers and Gummi Space Shuttles at the airport’s Kennedy Space Center gift shop.

MCO - S&P space

mco gummi space shuttles

New airport amenity: “At your service” carts

Paradies kiosk

If you travel through John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, you may have already seen the smaller, pushcart version of this mobile ‘At Your Service’ cart from Paradies, the company that operates shops at more than 70 airports and hotels in the US and Canada.

The company is, literally, getting ready to roll these carts out – and into – hold areas at airports.

Stocked with snacks, drinks, magazines, neck pillows, earbuds and other best-selling items from the shops, the carts bring last-minute and nice-to-have necessities to “gate huggers” who might not take the time to wander into shops.

The first full-blown “At Your Service” cart will appear at Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport this week and, soon, in an airport near you.

pardies kiosk 2

Find Happiness and Nirvana at airports

Here’s how to find Happiness and Nirvana at U.S. airports:


At Indianapolis International Airport (IND), Happiness, a site-specific project by Jamie Pawlus looks just like the signs we’re used to seeing at airports and other public venues.

SubPOP Mega Mart ad courtesy EMP

Sub Pop Mega Mart handbill – courtesy EMP museum


And soon travelers will be able to find Nirvana — as well as Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Band of Horses — and recordings from other bands in the Sub Pop indie-rock catalog at a store opening in April at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“For many people, the airport serves as a first and last impression of a city,” said Megan Jasper, vice president at Sub Pop. “Sub Pop hopes to add to the quality of that experience by proudly representing the city’s love for music and its culture.”

Founded in 1988, the Seattle-based Sub Pop vaulted grunge rock to international fame and the label is to Seattle what Motown was to Detroit and Sun Records was to Memphis.

“Seattle music has become part of the cultural identity of the city and is as rooted in our ‘brand’ as Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks coffee,” said Charles R. Cross, author of the forthcoming book “Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain.” “Sub Pop is a big part of that, and even though not every local band is on Sub Pop, their name, more than any other, evokes Seattle music to many people.”

The roots in Northwest culture “fit well into Sea-Tac airport’s retail offerings, [which] feature a unique combination of local and national brands,” airport spokeswoman Christina Faine said in an email. “Locally there is a following for Sub Pop, with its quintessentially quirky Northwest merchandise.”

Faine said live performances outside the Sub Pop store will complement the airport’s existing music program, which includes short concerts, music videos and recorded greetings by local musicians.

The store will sell T-shirts and posters celebrating the region’s cultural history, as well as CDs and vinyl records.

“You can get Starbucks and Seattle’s Best coffees almost everywhere, but there are only a few places left where you can find rare Sub Pop vinyl,” Cross said. “Now our airport is one of them.”

The job posting for manager at the Sub Pop airport shop makes it clear that music is a priority: “Knowledge of the Sub Pop catalog, Pacific Northwest music, the Seattle music community and the city of Seattle” is required, it stated.

In addition to the Sub Pop store, Metsker Maps, a popular Seattle shop selling maps, globes, travel guides and geography-themed books and gifts, will open a branch Sea-Tac in May.

It’s a different story 160 miles south, where Oregon’s Portland International Airport (PDX) will lose two of its three branches of the iconic indie bookstore Powell’s City of Books, whose flagship in downtown Portland fills an entire block.

“The airport is rethinking the retail on the concourses and likely responding to the changing patterns of travelers who want to get past security quickly,” said Powell’s Books CEO Miriam Sontz. “But leases that were coming due later this year are not being renewed, and the option offered of extending these leases to Dec. 31 doesn’t work for our business.”

The airport is asking tenants with expiring contracts to join other interested businesses in submitting proposals for future operations.

“The proposals would be part of a program in its early stages that would redevelop airport concessions as we continue to improve the passenger experience at PDX,” said Port of Portland airport spokesman

Powell’s two post-security branches will close June 30, but its pre-security store, which opened in 1988 and offers games, toys and gifts along with new and used books, will remain. The airport store also buys used books.

“We’re very sad—this was not a choice we wanted,” Sontz said. “I may be the CEO, but I’m also a traveler. And I think this will affect people’s ability to have that last chance to grab a bit of reading before a long flight.”

(My story about the Sub Pop shop at Sea-Tac Airport and Powell’s Books at Portland International Airport first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior in a slightly different version.)

Pop-up shops popping up at airports

Denver International Airport _RT70 -new kiosk selling local ski-resort related items.

Route 70 Resort Wear kiosk at Denver International Airport

They’ve worked well in malls and on upscale shopping streets. Now pop-up retail shops and restaurants are becoming more common in airports.

For London’s Heathrow Airport, pop-ups offer the ability to provide “seasonality and variety to passengers and the opportunity to test new concepts and brands,” said Hazel Catterall, Heathrow’s head of fashion.

In addition to frozen yogurt in the summer, artisan chocolate at Easter, flip-flops and sandals during the summer and specialty gifts in the spring, “we introduce relevant popups to match the travel theme such as ‘BBC Doctor Who’ products during the program anniversary to coincide with the summer holidays,” said Iona Harper, Heathrow’s experience delivery manager.

Copenhagen Airport has hosted pop-up restaurants, where top Danish chefs took turns serving special tasting menus from an open kitchen. And every few months a different company creates a pop-up in the “Brand Box” in the airport’s main tax-free shop. Right now outdoor clothing and gear company, Yeti, is in the CPH brand box with a special fitting room offering customers a place to try on down jackets at icy cold winter temperatures.

Copenhagen Airport_Yeti Pop-Up Shop allows travelers to try on clothes in cold temperatures. Courtesy CPH Airport

Copenhagen Airport – Yeti Pop-Up shop allows travelers to try on clothes in the cold.

Airports in the United States are hopping on the pop-up bandwagon as well.

In October 2013 JetBlue hosted a three-day Farmers Market at T5 at JFK Airport _courtesy JetBlue

In October 2013, JetBlue hosted a three-day Farmers Market in T5 at JFK International Airport. “That was such a successful pop-up experience that we’re now looking at how we can integrate it more on a regular basis,” said JetBlue spokeswoman Tamara Young.

DCA_HickoryFarms pop-up_courtesy Hickory Farms via Twitter

During this past holiday season, Hickory Farms tested the idea of a Holiday Market shop at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. In the Delta Terminal of LaGuardia Airport in New York, the eco-friendly lifestyle and fashion website Zady set up a pop-up shop selling jewelry, accessories, handbags, clothing and home goods.

“From a business standpoint, it’s a great idea,” said Ramon Lo, editorial director of Airport Revenue News. “Short-term leases can give vendors a chance to dip their toes into the airport arena and build awareness for street-side locations,” while allowing airports to vet new operators and, often, fill unused spaces, he said.

This past January, when San Francisco International Airport reopened United’s renovated Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, two spaces for pop-up shops with year-long leases were included alongside new restaurants and retailers that will be there much longer.

“We wanted to provide new, small business owners an opportunity to operate at SFO without the cost of an expensive build out,” said airport spokesman Doug Yakel. “If the shops are successful, they can propose on another space at the airport in the future. If they are not successful, at least they don’t have huge bills to pay going forward.”

For the next year, the work of local and regional artists will be on view at SFO in the Collector pop-up, while organic olive oil, skin care products and other items will be sold at the pop-up shop operated by Marin County-based McEvoy Ranch.

SFO_McEvoy Ranch Pop Up_Courtesy SFO

While the shop has been open less than a month, “we’re experiencing fast-paced growth,” said McEvoy Ranch co-proprietor Nion McEvoy. “With upwards of 20 new flights slated to be added by the airline in March, we’re confident that sales will continue to increase.”

Temporary retail stores selling Broncos and Seahawks memorabilia did very well this year at Denver and Seattle International airports, as did the Hudson News pop-up shops at Newark Liberty International Airport during Super Bowl week.

It can often take some negotiation with airports to secure the space for pop-ups, “but airports are motivated and sometimes ask for these pop-ups because they of course share in the benefit of the sales,” said Hudson Group spokeswoman Laura Samuels.

Increased sales for an existing tenant – and the desire to help out local lovebirds – is why Austin Bergstrom International Airport makes room in the bag claim around Valentine’s Day for Amy’s Ice Creams to set up a low-tech pop-up shop (a cloth-covered table with a cash box, chairs and a cooler) selling chocolate truffles and pink egg cartons filled with chocolate-covered strawberries.

AustinBergstrom Airport_Amys IceCreams Valentine's Day pop-up in bag claim_Courtesy Sandy L. Stevens, Austin-Bergstrom

Courtesy Sandy L. Stevens – Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport


“The airport doesn’t charge extra for this or other any pop-up,” said airports spokesman Jason Zielinski. “We receive a set percentage of total sales for all concession operations, so an increase in sales generated by pop-ups also produces an increase in revenue for the airport.”

At Denver International Airport, a Retail Merchandising Unit (RMU) cart and kiosk program in place since September 2011 offers 38 spots that often function as pop-ups.

The program offers entrepreneurs and small business owners agreements that last from three months to a year and most go to Denver or Colorado-based concepts that have featured everything from solar-powered accessories and emergency supplies to jewelry, vitamins and handmade candy and chocolates.

“Some stay on and get new agreements, but usually a third if not half will turn over on an annual basis,” said Deborah Kravitz, owner of program operator Provenzano Resources.

Route 70 Resort Wear, which sells branded T-shirts and sweatshirts from Denver-area ski resorts along Route 70 for at least six months, is the newest kiosk to open at Denver International Airport. And any day now, Pink Slip, a shop selling boutique and brand-name boxers and T-shirts for men and tights, stockings and other “basics” for women, will open for five months at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B, in the space formerly occupied by Brookstone.

“This will help us get a read on if this is something travelers want without us having to go into the investment of a longer term lease,” said shop co-owner and airport concessions consultant Ellery Plowman of Elleco. And because Pink Slip is renting the space in the gap between two long-term tenants, the airport gets a bit of extra revenue “and passengers see something new, unique and cool” instead of an empty space, said Plowman.

One company eyeing JFK, Heathrow and other hub airports as possible pop-up venues is Vancouver-based Indochino, an on-line custom clothing company for men that has a Traveling Tailor program.

“We had great success at our event in Grand Central Station with the kind of men who appreciate the convenience of a 30-minute appointment that results in a custom wardrobe,” said Kyle Vucko, Indochino co-founder and CEO. “And an airport pop-up store could resonate in the same way.”

The Indochino Pop-Up Store: Grand Central Station, New York City.

Indochino Pop-Up store at Grand Central Station, NYC

(My story about airport pop-up shops first appeared on USA TODAY in my February 2014 ‘At the Airport’ column.)

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