HEBRON, Ky. – Stressed out travelers looking to relax will have two new options at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport starting next year – as airport officials look to debut a host of upgraded retail concession options for guests amid increased passenger growth.
Be Relax, an international spa provider that specializes in airports, will open storefronts in Concourses A and B, offering massage services, manicures, pedicures, waxing and oxygen rejuvenation. It will also sell various products on site.
The new service – expected to open in the third quarter of 2019 – will replace Massage Bar, which operated at CVG for five years. That company's contract recently expired, and the airport issued a new RFP, or request for proposals, in May.
CVG spokeswoman Mindy Kershner said officials decided that a concept "inclusive of massage therapy, manicures, pedicures and other amenities found in a full-service spa would be (more) beneficial to passengers." Be Relax, the only bidder, expects sales to top $3.4 million for the term of its contract, which is eight years. CVG will receive a minimum annual guarantee in rent of $18,000.
CVG will be its smallest domestic market.
Be Relax opened its first spa concept at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2007. It currently operates at 50 airports in Europe, Asia and the United States, including Baltimore/Washington International, Los Angeles International, Boston Logan and Washington Dulles.
"They run a nice product," CVG CEO Candace McGraw said.
While Be Relax stands as the airport's only massage and spa service, it's just one of many new amenities now pending for passengers. CVG also inked two new retail packages with Paradies Lagardère, an airport concessionaire, to reopen or rebrand 16 retail shops.
The concepts will offer grab-and-go food options, magazine and book sales as well as apparel and souvenirs, much like CVG's current offering. But the new stores will "elevate the customer experience" while adding "local flair," McGraw said.
The Paradies concepts include:
- Over-the-Rhine-Market, which will offer basic travel necessities and grab-and-go food items like fruit and protein boxes. It has a tentative second quarter opening
- Seven Hills Essentials, which will offer foods, gifts and other items from local venders, and sports-themed merchandise featuring the Reds, Bengals and Buckeyes
- semiSweet will give travelers a much-needed sugar lift. Brands will include Godiva, Ghirardelli and Lindt
- Books, Barrels, and Bridges, which will offer a large selection snacks, magazine titles and hard and paperback books. The store will also sell home apparel and gifts from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and Jim Beam, Four Roses and Maker’s Mark distilleries. Paradies expects its debut in the third quarter 2020.
- Gaslight Gifts, which will offer travel basics and local and regional gourmet items, gifts and souvenirs, with brands like Montgomery Inn, Rivertown Inkery and Kentucky Souvenir
- Queen City Exposition, which "will be a store unlike any other in an airport in North America," Paradies officials said, will evoke the classic art deco aesthetic of the Cincinnati Museum Center, with a collection of local gourmet food, gift and souvenir items from vendors like Honey Sweetie Acres and Cityscape Tiles
- No Boundaries, a store that's "popular in other airports," will offer outdoor apparel and accessories, including Columbia, Mountain Hardwear and Aventura
- For sports fans, The Scoreboard will sell officially licensed apparel and accessories
- TripAdvisor will serve up travel essentials, snacks, newspapers and magazines
- A new CNBC will feature a modern and bold design with travel basics and local vendor gifts and food items
- A TODAY store will provide travelers with technology, entertainment, news and travel essentials
- And travelers will also be able to purchase contemporary business and leisure clothing from Brooks Brothers, jewelry from Brighton and men’s and women’s fashion from SPANX
“We’re confident that the retail program…will offer travelers an enhanced customer experience unlike any other,” Gregg Paradies, president and CEO of Paradies Lagardère, said in a release.
Paradies officially takes over October 1, said Paul Hegedus, CVG's vice president for commercial management, and renovations are planned. Opening dates range from the second quarter 2019 to fourth quarter 2020. Hegedus said shops like Spirit of the Red Horse have already closed, but temporary storefronts are expected.
"Starting Jan. 1, they'll start construction on four of the 16 units that they were awarded," he said. "We'll see about four stores under construction each quarter (until work is done)."
CVG - in May, June and July - broke all-time records for local passengers served. It's considered the fastest growing airport in the U.S.
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