Advance Network

Vera Bradley opens in LAX Terminal 1

Black women-owned business celebrates debut of first owned and operated airport store

Travelers at LAX have a new shopping destination with the recent opening of Vera Bradley in Terminal 1.

Together with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), we welcomed the new retail store owned and operated by Apryl Stewart, Founder and CEO of Skyview Concessions, a 100% Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) operator. This is Stewart’s first independently owned and operated store. She currently employs seven people at her LAX location.

“Owning and operating my own store at LAX is a dream come true,” Stewart said. “When I started as a retail sales manager at LAX, I only dreamed of owning a store at one of the world’s largest and busiest airports in the world. Now I am living that dream.”

Located in Terminal 1, home to Southwest Airlines, the store features a variety of Vera Bradley merchandise. The famous brand is best known for its quilted cotton luggage, handbags & backpacks with colorful designs. The store also offers a selection of Pura Vida hand-crafted bracelets and jewelry.

Chris Adkins, URW’s Director of the Advance Network initiative, noted that LAWA and URW continue to partner to bring more small and disadvantaged operators into the airport.

“We are thrilled to see Apryl open her first independently-owned store here at LAX,” Adkins said. “This is a great example of how a minority woman who has worked her way up in the business has evolved to the next level of owning and operating her own unit. We are lowering the barriers of entry and are seeing great success with many new businesses in our programs.”

Stewart began her career in the airport business more than 20 years ago. Starting as a sales manager for DFS, she worked her way up including roles as a merchandise buyer and assistant general manager at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal. Stewart then worked for Concourse Concessions as the director of retail.

While working for DFS, Stewart noticed a plaque stating the store was owned in a joint venture partnership with DFS. She inquired about partnership opportunities and was then introduced to the Airport Minority Advisory Council where she subsequently represented DFS at conferences. Her exposure to women and minority business owners helped her realize her dream of owning her own store was possible. Soon after, the first-generation entrepreneur created Skyview Concessions.

Stewart has partnered with travel retail operators including Paradies Lagardère, Hudson Group, Areas, and DFS to operate airport retail from newsstands, specialty concepts, duty free, and F&B concepts at LAX and SFO.

A graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, Apryl also earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She also is a member of the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC).

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