Prague Airport Supports National Brands With A Greener Kind Of Store

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Prague’s Václav Havel Airport has just opened a store called Future is Local that—unusually for a European capital city airport—is entirely focused on promoting Czech and neighboring Slovak brands.

Almost 30 brands have been sourced for the store with all the local goods offered claimed to be made from high quality materials in a sustainable manner with respect for the environment. Passengers can learn the stories of the brands via QR codes located near the shelves, hangers, and product showcases.

The concept and design of the shop, located in Terminal 2, has a very transparent natural and earthy feel. From the globe that features in the word 'Local' in the store name, the plants housed in crates at the front entrance and also hanging above the light fittings, to the wooden park bench at the counter, the design permeates a relaxed atmosphere.

The interior was created with minimal environmental impact. All the fixtures were made by a local company from sustainable, recycled, and refurbished materials, including recycled wood, and a vinyl floor made from PET bottles. The option of recycling the used materials in the future was also factored into the design process.

But there is commercial thinking behind the concept which has been developed by Lagardère Travel Retail Czech Republic, part of the French global travel retailer, which last week announced some strong growth figures.

A February study from Swiss travel retail research group, M1nd-set indicated that more than 80% of traveling consumers are more concerned about sustainability now than before, while 71% of shoppers preferred to buy brands that could demonstrate social, ethical, and environmental values and practices.

“Local production and honest craftsmanship”

“The idea on which we have based the whole concept is clear: the future lies in local resources; in other words in goods, services, materials and, above all, people,” said LTR Czech Republic’s CEO Richard Procházka. “At Future is Local, we believe in local production, honest craftsmanship, heritage, and tradition and these are the criteria by which we select our suppliers.”

He added: “The shop is there for everyone who wants to learn more and cares about how, where, and what they buy, and who they support with their purchases. Transparency and awareness are an integral part of sustainability. From the first customer reactions, we can see how positively they feel about the shop.”

Though it is early days for a concept like this—especially in the airport retail environment where a high turnover per square foot is usually a requirement—the CEO said that he was already thinking about expanding on this pilot with “activities in a similar manner.”

The store features a mix of established companies, as well as niche startups with small workshops. Passengers can find items that range from fashion, glass and gifts, to natural cosmetics. Brands include glassware from Klimchi and Lukáš Jabůrek Studio; Goldfinger and Studio Malíská porcelain; decorative items from Chrpa (which supports workers with disabilities); Reparáda fashion, and a range of beauty labels like Klara Rott, Kama, and Havlík's Natural Pharmacy.

“We are happy to have opened a purely local shop, which is the first of its kind at the airport and promotes a unique concept at the global level,” said Jakub Puchalský, who is on Prague Airport’s board of directors. “We have long been advocating the topic of sustainability. Therefore, the concept fits right into the company strategy.”

Puchalský invited others to be as ambitious as Lagardère with respect to sustainability by commenting: “Further expansion of airport services with a similar approach has our full support.” The airport, which has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and net zero carbon emissions by 2050, carried over 3.8 million passengers in the summer (from June to August), one third less than in same period in 2019.

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