Detroit News store opens at Detroit Metro airport
Romulus — A Detroit News-branded store opened for its first day of business inside Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Friday.
The store doesn’t just sell newspapers. It is a “travel retail store,” a gift shop offering everything from cherry jam from Traverse City, to Sanders fudge, and refrigerator magnets featuring licensed photographs taken by Detroit News photographers.
“It is a concept we think can take off in many airports across the U.S.,” said Mark Wolbert, director of retail for Delaware North, a global food-service and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., that pitched the idea to The Detroit News. “We now have an agreement with the Boston Globe at Logan Airport, and we have three other newspapers in the works.”
The 1,000-square-foot store is located in the North Terminal at Gate D-27 near American Airlines. It has a red brick facade with the Detroit News masthead.
Besides newspapers, there are magazines, travel pillows and blankets, headphones, cellphone chargers, snacks, sunglasses, sports team caps, T-shirts and ear buds.
But the Detroit News gifts are what makes the store stand out. There are things like coasters with old photos of the Boblo Island boat, and refrigerator magnets with headlines from old newspapers, including a 1984 headline in the World Series Extra “Tigers Win Series.”
Wolbert said the idea was to “differentiate ourselves from the competition.”
“We wanted to offer the airport something unique, as well as offer the customer a true sense of place — a part of the culture of Detroit,” he said.
Shopper Adrian Stowe was visiting Detroit from Charlotte, North Carolina, and bought a bag of chips before heading back home.
“I think it’s a neat concept,” Stowe said. “And I like the news boxes. They’re real old-school.”
Lando Jerdine, retail manager for Delaware North, said they wanted to accomplish two goals with the store, which features a backdrop with words that are pure Detroit, including “Belle Isle Conservancy 982 acres,” “Detroit Red Wings” and “Detroit Lions,” among others.
“We wanted to meet the needs of the customer in terms of indulging them because they may be on vacation, and at the same time, be able to take something from the city to that distant relative who may have moved away,”he said.
Airport spokeswoman Erica Donerson said the new Detroit News store fits into their focus.
“By incorporating local names and brands into our concessions program, we’re creating a sense of place,” she said. “When travelers arrive at DTW, we want them to know they are in Detroit. Nearly 50 percent of our passengers are locally based. We hope seeing hometown favorites represented in our airport brings them a sense of pride and exposes travelers who don’t live in our area to what Detroit, the Metro area and Michigan have to offer.”