News Article - September 20, 2007

Philadelphia International Airport Tenants Soar to Success  
  PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With 31.7 million passengers a year, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) provides retailers with an ideal customer base to build a profitable business. MarketPlace Redwood, L.P. manages the food and retail program at the airport, offering passengers 160 stores, restaurants and services to choose from at the “Philadelphia Marketplace Food & Shops.” Retailers such as Prestige Signatures, Fire & Ice, Airport Wireless and OTG Management, Inc., operators of Jet Rock Bar & Grill, Sky Asian Bistro and Cibo Bistro & Wine Bar, started at PHL within the past 10 years and based on the success of their first airport stores, all have moved on to open other locations across the country. “The success of these retailers is a testament to the airport’s outstanding concessions program,” said Anna DiGregorio, Director of Marketing for the Philadelphia Marketplace Food & Shops. “It’s exciting to see tenants who started out at PHL expand to additional airports.”

Prestige Signatures

Prestige Signatures, which offers watches, leather goods and fine writing instruments, began serving PHL customers in 1996 and was the first-ever merchandise cart at the airport. Founded by area resident Shereen Zakkouc with a kiosk at Philadelphia’s Franklin Mills Mall, Prestige Signatures jumped on the opportunity to open at PHL when the airport’s specialty retail program first started. Zakkouc’s husband, Maz, who currently operates the PHL location, says part of the company’s success is because of the “family-like” atmosphere between the merchants and management. After a serious car accident in the 1990s, the family was having difficulty keeping the business afloat and nearly had to shut down their kiosk. Marketplace Redwood stepped in, offering to let them operate for a month rent-free and moving the kiosk to a more high-traffic location. With business thriving again, Prestige Signatures moved from their cart to a store in F Terminal in 2000. The store is now located in the B/C connector, the airport’s main retail hub. Prestige Signatures expanded to Newark and Miami airports in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and plans to add more locations in the future.

Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice, a regional market leader in one-of-a-kind and specialized jewelry with 11 East Coast locations, opened its first airport store in 1998 at PHL. Owner Robert Levine already operated a Philadelphia location at the Shops at Liberty Place, which was managed by Redwood Advisory, a partner of Marketplace Redwood, and thought opening an airport location was a no-brainer. “I like the demographic in Philadelphia,” Levine said. “The airport traveler is hard-working and doesn’t have a lot of time. They don’t want to get in a car after a long trip to go buy a gift.” Levine also said PHL’s “street pricing” guarantee (where merchandise is priced the same as an off-airport location) aids in their success by giving the consumer confidence that they’re not being overcharged. Fire & Ice grew a dedicated customer base at PHL and in 2005, debuted its second airport location in Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The company has plans to expand to other airports in the near future.

Airport Wireless

While flying out of PHL one day, Iris Goldschmidt noticed that new, mall-style stores were under construction, and realized the potential for an airport location of her Bryn Mawr, Pa. cell phone store. Soon after, she approached the airport’s cart program and in 1997 Airport Wireless® began selling wireless phones and accessories from a merchandise cart in Terminal B. Her cart grew to a successful store at PHL just a year later, and soon Airport Wireless® locations were opened in Cleveland Hopkins International and Newark Liberty International Airports. In 2003, Goldschmidt signed an exclusive agreement to operate Palm’s airport locations. There are currently 28 Airport Wireless® and Airport Wireless Palm stores in airports across the country, with plans in the works for a new project, “Tech Showcase,” a mini tech trade show of sorts. Goldschmidt attributes her ongoing success to the cart program at Philadelphia International Airport in an article in trade magazine Specialty Retail Report: “It’s because of that whole program that I am where I am today. I think if anyone can avail themselves of taking an opportunity to present a new idea or concept, [a cart] is the way to test it.”

OTG Management, Inc.

OTG Management, Inc., which operates airport restaurants, started in 1996 with one location in PHL, the Jet Rock Bar & Grill. The success of Jet Rock’s first location in Terminal B led to its replication in other terminals, and then an opportunity to open a Jet Rock location at New York’s LaGuardia International Airport. Several new restaurant concepts were then added to OTG’s repertoire, and they currently operate restaurants and quick service takeout at seven airports including PHL, LaGuardia, JFK, Boston Logan, Tucson, Washington/Ronald Reagan and Dulles. Offering upscale food concepts with high levels of design that rival popular city restaurants has resulted in an extremely successful chain of airport locations. A high regard for customer satisfaction, remaining open late during delays and the philosophy of “serving food in an airport, not airport food” have also contributed to OTG’s continued success.


MarketPlace Redwood, L.P. is the private partner with the City of Philadelphia in the development and management of the food and retail program throughout Philadelphia International Airport. The award-winning food and retail program consists of stores and eateries throughout Terminals A–West through F. The airport features more than 125 in-line stores, restaurants and services, plus an average of 30-40 specialty retail units. MarketPlace Redwood, L.P. is a partnership of MarketPlace Development, a Boston-based retail development firm that partners with airports and airlines, and Redwood Airport Management which is a subsidiary of Redwood Advisory, a Philadelphia-based retail development, management and consulting firm. For more information, visit

Source - Business Wire