Phoenix Sky Harbor International is the number one airport in the country for new small businesses, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General. The goal of the report was to identify which of the nation’s 64 largest airports have been able to successfully incorporate new DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) operators. According to the report, airports have several procedures in place to encourage contract awards to new small businesses, including unbundling major contracts and leases, entering into direct contracts or leases with DBE/ACDBE (Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) firms, outreach initiatives and financial incentives.
In fiscal year 2012, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport added 14 new small businesses – the most of any airport in the nation.
“Phoenix is a great place for small business, and I could not be more pleased with the results of this audit,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “We are committed to supporting small businesses and building a diverse and sustainable economic future.”
In fact, the city of Phoenix helped secure $4 million in financing for small and disadvantaged business at the Airport. “It is vital that we support and encourage small businesses at Sky Harbor and the city of Phoenix,” said Phoenix Councilman Daniel Valenzuela. “Small businesses create jobs and opportunities.”
In 2011 and 2012, Sky Harbor rebid its food and beverage concession in Terminal 4, which serves more than 80 percent of the Airport’s passengers. The contracts were awarded to HMS Host and SSP America. Both have several local small businesses operating within those contracts and have brought extensive local, regional and national food offerings to the Airport, including Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Press Coffee Food &Wine, Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles, Sir Veza’s Taco Garage, Tammie Coe Cakes, and many more.
“We are honored to be able to provide opportunities to many local, small business owners,” said Aviation Director Danny Murphy. “It is not only good for the local economy; it also provides our visitors with a true taste of Arizona.”