Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

On a recent Wednesday evening, Louis Vuletic had time to spare before heading through the Main Security Checkpoint Area at Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Vuletic, of Phoenix, Ariz., was walking around the atrium and stopped

to adjust his luggage in front of ATL Sunglasses, a new store that

recently opened at Atlanta's airport. The passenger noticed the

store, located near the Main Security Checkpoint Area, and stepped


He said stores that serve a niche, like ATL Sunglasses, provide

passengers with shopping options. He said that because he had time

before his flight took off to Phoenix, he decided to browse around

and shop for Oakley sunglasses.

"Any shop of this quality is fantastic at an airport ... You can't

get a better location than this, because again, whoever comes in is

surprised by this area, so I think that this probably is one of the

hot spots at the airport right now," said Vuletic.

ATL Sunglasses is operated by HMSHost, under a retail concessions

contract with the airport, which runs through September 2015, said

David Pietrzak, general manager for HMSHost at Hartsfield-Jackson.

"Eyewear is often forgotten during travel," said Pietrzak. "Our

location allows the customer and passenger the ability to make this

purchase before, or after travel."

He added that the store also appeals to the high number of men and

women in the military that pass through Hartsfield-Jackson.

The brands carried at ATL Sunglasses include Oakley and Ray Ban, said

Pietrzak. Designer sunglasses such as Prada, Tom Ford, Bulgari, Maui

Jim, Marc Jacobs, Versace, Armani, Ralph Lauren and Costa Del Mar,

are also available at the 545-square-foot store, he explained.

The average price for sunglasses at the store is $179, though

customers can purchase eyewear below $100 and up to $650, he said.

Modern decor inside the store includes circular mirrors and black-and-

white photos of models sporting sunglasses.

"The store is bright and easy to shop, with best sellers displayed

attractively," said Pietrzak. "We have also incorporated decorative

wall decor and visual elements [from] local Atlanta artists."

Pietrzak said the Atlanta Home Store was once housed where ATL

Sunglasses is located. The home store, which was also operated by

HMSHost, closed on May 18.

"As a company with more than 100 years in this business, HMSHost is

able to move quickly if a store needs to be re-concepted for a

variety of reasons -- the need for additional space, performance or

consumer appeal or hot new trends," he explained.