INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis International Airport is celebrating the opening of the first wave of new retail offerings. The new stores are part of the airport's multi-year Concessions Refresh initiative, which aims to bring a greater mix of nationally-known brands, such as FAO Schwarz and Vineyard Vines, with more local offerings, including Natalie's Candy Jar and Fountain Square Market.

In all, nine new retail stores opened Tuesday morning. Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez tells Inside INdiana Business it is an "exciting" time for the airport.

"It's the first phase of the promises we made to everybody that really owns this place, which is central Indiana and Indiana itself," said Rodriguez. "We were focused in on modernizing all the concessions. You'll notice that these (new stores) are all news and gift stores. The restaurants will start opening up in the next phase. It really is a great program which is made up of national and local brands and brings even more flavor of Indiana and Indianapolis here inside the terminal."

The new retail locations that opened Tuesday include:

  • FAO Schwarz
  • Trip Advisor
  • Ink by Hudson
  • Vineyard Vines
  • Fountain Square Market
  • Hudson
  • Tumi
  • Pitstop by Hudson
  • Natalie’s Candy Jar

Rodriguez says the Concessions Refresh initiative is about more than just adding new stores or replacing old ones.

"It took reconstructing a lot of these areas. A lot of the areas you're going to see is not just putting in a concession where another concession was; it's a total reconstruct of the concessions area of the airport. It's going to be a brand new feel. It's going to be completely different, so as you go through the airport, you're going to see new spaces. They're redesigned. They're reconfigured to be a lot more comfortable and elevate the customer service level."

The contracts for the new stores were approved by the Indianapolis Airport Authority Board in January. Just two months later, the board approved contracts for new food and beverage vendors, such as nationally-known Shake Shack and local favorites Sun King Brewing, Bub's Burgers and Stacked Pickle, among others.

The new stores are just the first phase of the initiative. Rodriguez says it could take more than two years to complete the entire effort. He says the airport wanted to phase in the new stores over time so as not to overwhelm passengers with construction throughout the entire terminal.

You can learn more about the Concessions Refresh program by clicking here.