Grand Rapids Magazine brand will adorn airport retail stores


The Grand Rapids Magazine Travel Retail Store will feature products from Schuler Books & Music.

Grand Rapids Magazine is moving off the Gerald R. Ford International Airport newsstand and into its own branded travel retail store within the main hall.

HMSHost, which recently won the contract with the airport to manage the retail and food and beverage concessions in the main hall and the two terminals, selected Grand Rapids Magazine as one of its partners. The company, which is also the current retail and concessions operator, is hoping to add a local vibe to the airport with its updated retail and concession offerings.

“They are really making a conscious effort to make the airport reflective of the community,” said Scott Miller, circulation manager at Gemini Publications, which also publishes the Grand Rapids Business Journal. “It’s a really nice byproduct of their strategy that we get to be involved. They are trying to show Grand Rapids’ best face to visitors, and it’s an honor to be considered in that, to have such a prominent role.”

The current newsstand will be renovated beginning in June to incorporate the Grand Rapids Magazine brand. Eventually, that location will close with the renovation of the main hall into a consolidated security checkpoint — construction is expected to begin in the next three to five years — and two new Grand Rapids Magazine travel retail stores will open, one in each terminal.

Miller said that the timeline for the two new terminal locations are January 2014 for the Concourse B store and June 2014 for the Concourse A location.

“HMSHost has really partnered with us along the way and given us a lot of input into the look and feel of these stores. We’ve actually had a lot of fun with this, from the logo design to the name, to how the stores are going to look and how our products are going to be presented. They are also going to be showcasing other local products. So we are really excited that they selected Grand Rapids Magazine to partner with. It’s kind of humbling.”

The book department within the retail store will be a branded Schuler Books & Music operation. Other local products have not been announced, but Brian Ryks, airport executive director, said there would be other local brands on the store’s shelves.

“What I wanted to see was to bring more local flavor into our terminal retail and concessions,” Ryks said.

As a result, the plan that HMSHost provided to the airport during the RFP phase included several possible local brands.

“I’m not sure how they plan to incorporate that, but again, the overall theme was focused on ensuring that they are representing some of our local brands and culture into the facility,” Ryks said.

Grand Rapids Magazine expects that the partnership will help it gain an even greater readership from within the area as well as capture the transient traveler.

“It’s an opportunity to reach a consumer that maybe somehow we haven’t before,” Miller said. “We’ve been available before at the airport, on the newsstand, but this is obviously a game-changer when it comes to the level of exposure.”

HMSHost is a based in Bethesda, Md., and it will manage the retail and concession project. The company has operations in 112 airports worldwide, and operates newsstands in several, including the Wall Street Journal, Sunset News, Southern Living News and Texas Monthly stores.

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