By Maria Jose Subiria
One of Atlanta's most popular recreation areas now has a presence at the world's busiest airport.
Piedmont Park TravelMart, a 1,600-square-foot retail store, held its grand opening recently at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The store is located in the atrium, near the Arrivals Lobby of Atlanta's airport, said Gregg Paradies, president and CEO of The Paradies Shops, which operates the store.
Justin Marlett, The Paradies Shops' marketing and business development project manager, said Piedmont Park TravelMart sells Piedmont Park memorabilia, such as souvenir glassware, magnets, key chains, hooded sweatshirts and short and long-sleeve T-shirts.
"We are excited to offer our passengers a unique Atlanta experience with the new Piedmont Park TravelMart," said John Cugasi, director of the Concessions Division at Hartsfield-Jackson. "The store's location in the atrium is convenient for travelers, as well as friends and loved ones here to greet them. It also encompasses and exemplifies the airport's goal of establishing a sense of place that Atlanta residents and visitors can enjoy and call their own."
Marlett said that besides Piedmont Park memorabilia, the store offers newspapers, magazines, snacks, chilled beverages, travel accessories and Dunkin' Donuts products.
"The Piedmont Park TravelMart location is convenient, because it is the prime area in the airport for meeters and greeters, as well as its relation to Terminal South baggage claim," said Marlett. "It's perfect for those who have some time on their hands, before their flight, to get a magazine or a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, or for those who need a quick grab-and-go item once they have landed [at Hartsfield-Jackson]."
Paradies said to make Piedmont Park TravelMart a reality, The Paradies Shops worked closely with the Concessions Division at the airport and officials from the Piedmont Park Conservancy.
"Piedmont Park Conservancy is excited for this great opportunity to connect visitors at the world's busiest airport with Atlanta's most visited free attraction," said Yvette Bowden, president and CEO of the conservancy. "Together, travelers from all over the world will have the opportunity to experience and take home a little piece of the spirit of Atlanta's common ground -- Piedmont Park."
Bowden said the conservancy was approached by The Paradies Shops approximately one year ago. The conservancy was involved in participating in site visits and providing input on the color and materials used in the design of the shop, with a goal of providing passengers with an ambiance similar to Piedmont Park's setting, according to Bowden.
"We have worked so hard as a team," Bowden said. "They made sure everything ... would be recognizable to people here at home. It was a labor of love."
Marlett said construction of the store began in September and ended in November. The store opened on Nov. 25 and held its official grand opening in December.
According to Paradies, Piedmont Park TravelMart is the last of 13 stores The Paradies Shops will have opened as part of Hartsfield-Jackson's Retail Renaissance campaign, a concessions program created to increase non-airline revenue and to provide passengers with a variety of shops.
"We thought Piedmont Park would be a local icon to bring to our wonderful airport," said Paradies.