Within the next few years, there will be new restaurants and shops at Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s Terminal 2, including jewelry store Swarovski, clothing retailer Vineyard Vines, TripAdvisor and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.
The Raleigh-Durham International Airport Authority took one of the first steps toward the overhaul Thursday when it approved 10-year leases for 15 new stores.
“Our hope is that our customers will start their vacation right here at the airport,” said Kristie VanAuken, RDU’s vice president of communications and community affairs. “Why wait until you get to Florida? You can shop at Vineyard Vines right now.”
RDU passengers won’t see the new offerings until next year. Some of the first stores, including Swarovski, will open next March, with the rest to open in July.
“I think the consumers will really, really like what this new retail program actually looks like,” said Michael Landguth, RDU’s president and CEO. “Some of the amenities that they’ve actually got ... are some of the concepts that we have seen all across the country that we really wanted in the airport.”
National and local names are among the new stores. Landguth said the airport tried to pull some “local flair” into the overhaul to provide fliers products unique to the region.
That includes Root & Branch, a gift shop that will feature local products, including the work of local artists and businesses. It is a joint venture between Las Vegas-based Marshall Retail Group, Raleigh-based Deco Raleigh and Wilmington’s Edge of Urge.
TripAdvisor also will make its first brick-and-mortar appearance with the RDU shop, offering fliers the opportunity to explore popular destinations through touchscreens and an interactive wall. Travel essentials such as snacks and souvenirs also will be available. It will open in summer 2018.
“We’re really excited to have something truly new come into the program,” said Ingrid Hairston, RDU’s director of business development.
The airport had previously announced new restaurants, including Dale Jr.’s Whiskey River, a full-service restaurant with a wild-west theme, but the board was shown preliminary renderings of the new storefronts on Thursday. Whiskey River, Popeyes and a new Starbucks are expected to open before the holidays this year, but other restaurant changes won’t happen until later, RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer said.
“As soon as we’re done with the retail, we’ll start changing out all the food in the terminal,” he said. “So that will be another year or so.”
Other leases that were approved include:
▪ City Market News, which will offer locally-branded merchandise as well as travel staples. The airport described the store as “reminiscent of Raleigh City Market.” It is expected to open spring 2018.
▪ No Boundaries, which will sell active wear targeted at the adventure sports enthusiast starting summer 2018.
▪ Corsa Collections, which will sell Brighton accessories and other travel items starting spring 2018.
▪ 5th and Sunset, a sunglasses and watch accessories shop that is expected to open spring 2018.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon