USA. DFASS  and Texas-based retail developer CBI Retail Ventures (together with DBE partners MDT Strategic Ventures and Charles Bush Consulting) have opened their state-of-the-art TRG Duty Free store at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Terminal D.

TRG Duty Free spans 19,000sq ft (1,765sq m) over two levels and is one of the largest and most technologically advanced duty free stores in the Western Hemisphere, according to CBI Retail Ventures. The store is on the ground level while the upper mezzanine features seating areas.

Click here to see a short video, courtesy of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, of the new operation.

CBI Retail Ventures CEO Steve Flory and Benny Klepach, CEO of Miami-based inflight travel retail specialist DFASS, have combined the diverse experience of their two companies to form the TRG Duty Free Joint Venture.

The parties previously owned and operated Buckaroo Duty Free (the predecessor to TRG Duty Free) at Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

DFASS described the store as representing “a new level of retail excellence” that will serve as a benchmark for North American travel retail in the years ahead.

TRG President Jon Potash (who is also President of DFASS Travel Retail) stated: “We cannot be prouder of all the partners from our group, our suppliers and the airport who were instrumental in the realisation of this fantastic store. The long-anticipated opening represents a new level of retail excellence and will serve as a benchmark for travel retail in the years ahead.

“Now that the store is officially open, our mission is to grow a retail operation which exceeds the impressive physical structure. Given the strength and commitment of our team, I am confident that the results will be spectacular.”

Other key contributors to the launch of TRG Duty Free include Vancouver-based SmartDesign Group;  and Fort Worth-based Innovative Strategies.

The two-storey TRG Duty Free store is one of the largest in North America at 1,756sq m

“The end result reflects the convergence of entertainment and retail, as well as the coming together of digital and physical experiences” – CBI Retail Ventures CEO Steve Flory

A celebratory soft opening for TRG Duty Free took place on Wednesday, 20 December with tours for guests. The event was attended by the airport’s senior leadership team, including CEO Sean Donohue; Executive Vice President of Revenue Management Ken Buchanan; Vice President of Concessions Zenola Campbell; and Assistant Vice President of Concessions Michael Baldwin. CBI Retail Ventures CEO Steve Flory, world-renowned sculptor James Surls, media members, and other VIPs were also present.

Texan welcome: Concessionaire and airport representatives, together with key associates, gather to celebrate the landmark opening

“We are proud to not only have developed the largest duty free store in the Western Hemisphere, but also have designed a first-of-its-kind immersive store experience at DFW Airport,” said Flory.

“The end result reflects the convergence of entertainment and retail, as well as the coming together of digital and physical experiences. This truly marks the pinnacle of DFW Airport’s goal of being a world-class global superhub. It is a blend of international couture, state-of-the-art technology, and luxurious services — all the while capturing the spirit and beauty of modern Texas.”

The venture has nearly doubled the size of the local team to accommodate the new business. Potash said that global airport and inflight travel retail specialist DFASS has introduced a full array of international brands to the venture. “Capitalising on their deep understanding of the market and their strategic supplier relationships, DFASS incorporated key shop-in-shop boutiques from Diageo, Moët Hennessy and Armani to ramp up the footfall and drive revenues. The broad product mix and category offerings provide something for everyone passing through Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.”

The new TRG Duty Free integrates world-class retail, exclusive high-end local brands, VIP concierge services, cutting-edge technology, and world-renowned art from Surls. The partners have invested US$2 million in digital displays, state-of-the art control systems, and interactive technology with multilingual content. Semi-circular “immersive promotional pods”, filled with floor-to-ceiling seamless digital monitors, display videos, advertisements and communicate brand launches.

Beauty zone: Key international brands stand proud in the perfumes and cosmetics offer

International brands featured include Estée Lauder, La Mer, Dior, Lancôme, Prada, Hermès, Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Bvlgari, IWC, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Armani, YSL, Chanel, Burberry, D&G, Omega, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss.

The local brands highlighted include TX Whiskey, Bohlin and Askinosie Chocolate.

A focus on local products, including TX Whiskey, promote a strong sense of place at the Dallas hub

The store also hosts the first Armani Exchange store located inside an airport and the first Ulysse Nardin duty free watch boutique within a North American gateway.

Two free, public luxury lounges within the store provide a club-like atmosphere to travellers. Tasting bars are integrated into retail for product sampling and demos and VIP concierge service stations provide information and speciality services.

Taste sensation: Sampling bars allow stronger interaction with travellers

The store includes two integrated hold room spaces for adjacent American Airlines gates with modern seating clusters, charging stations, over 50 iPads with interactive apps and elevated work stations.

The store’s two levels can be accessed via two elevators and four staircases. Its mezzanine features 240-foot railings embedded with gold, silver and glass.

Airports as artports: Renowned sculptor James Surls has created monumental pieces for the new duty free store

Statement artworks and sculptures are displayed in the the shopping area. The store’s sustainable design elements include low-profile raised flooring, 100% high efficiency LED lighting, LED technology-powered digital displays and a daylight-optimised building footprint with high-performance glazing systems.