One veteran minority business concessions owner has a piece of advice for entrepreneurs starting at the airport, “Lead with Excellence.”
Ralph Moore has been a junior venture (JV) partner in Brookstone at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) since 2000. He currently is affiliated with two Brookstone stores including one in Terminal 5.
Moore has a storied background. After graduating from Southern Illinois University, he got a job at Arthur Andersen where he was the 10th black employee in its Chicago office in July 1971. After soaking up much knowledge, he left the company three years later to join a Chicago-based Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Corporation. Soon after he recognized the need for more supplier diversity and started his own company, RGMA, which helps employers diversify their suppliers and advises government agencies on its affirmative action programs.
More than 20 years after starting his own business, Moore began his career as a JV concessions partner. Between his fascination with the airport and the call for more minority businesses at the airport, Moore decided to invest in a concessions unit and has been there ever since. He has seen the airport go through many changes and has personally been involved with four different prime owners of his units.
“You can’t love Chicago without making a contribution and I am proud to contribute to O’Hare,” Moore said. “When you look at Terminal 5, it has one of the most significant investments by minority partners in the country. We have tremendous leaders in the terminal making serious investments in the City of Chicago.”
A pioneer in supplier diversity, Moore became Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) certified when he started at O’Hare. He advises all entrepreneurs and JV partners to become ACDBE certified as it opens the door to more opportunities in the airport.
“Ralph’s knowledge and expertise in the airport as well as in supplier diversity is a real gift to the business community at the airport,” said Wally Kruce, URW General Manager, ORD. “He is always giving of his time to help someone starting in the airport and is a terrific mentor to all concessionaires. We are grateful for his partnership.”
Moore attributes his success in business to many things but one piece of advice he offers entrepreneurs is to bring solutions and lead with what you do best.