DFASS puts the icing on the cake

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

The Moodie Report’s temporary Miami bureau is in full production mode and comparing this view and temperature with what faces me when I return to wintry London overnight, I might just make this a permanent base.

It’s been a great week here in Florida, starting with my visit on Tuesday to Orlando International Airport to see the opening of the new Nuance/DFASS flagship store (pictured below). The airport has one of the best tax paid retail offers you’ll find, ranging from Kennedy Space Center to Disney’s EarPort and Sea World, but as with many US airports duty free has historically had a low profile.

 Nonetheless, run for years by Alpha (now World Duty Free Group), it was always a successful operation, turning over around US$15 million in its last couple of years before The Nuance Group (Orlando), the alliance between Nuance and DFASS, took over.  That partnership has much bigger plans however, believing it can generate sales of around US$200 million over the seven-year contract term.

[The old…]

[and the new…]

Part of that confidence is based on heavy investment in the two stores. The design (by Smart Design) has opened up the flagship (Airside 4) shop, lending great visibility and ease of shopping. It works really well. I’ve seen two of The Nuance Group’s new US operations this year, the other being Las Vegas McCarran International (also Smart Design). Both are impressive and both have got off to a flying start, underlining the critical importance of imagination and investment.

From Orlando (and a panoramic view of the airport cark park from my room at the Hyatt) it was down to Miami and the rather more pleasant view you see above from my room at One Bel Harbour.

Here a big week continued for DFASS as the Miami-based concessionaire and supplier celebrated its 25th anniversary in style with a great Latin-themed party.

For Founder and Chairman Benny Klepach and his wife Juliette (below) it was a happy occasion but also a poignant one as they reflected on how far the company has come over the past quarter century.

It seemed like most of the Florida travel retail community was there and certainly as my head testifies today the partying was long and hard. The occasion was rendered more special for being the birthday of DFASS Chairman John Garner, who was serenaded in true Marilyn Monroe/JFK style (below) by two torch singers and everyone present.

Welcoming guests,  John commented on the  company’s 25th anniversary landmark, noting: “We’re a business that exemplifies the very spirit of entrepreneuralism.”

[The entertainment included these amazing Cirque du Soleil-like performers]

[Do not try this at home…]

Tonight it’s the long flight east to a bitterly cold London. Then on Monday, I’m bound a whole lot further east – to Taipei, where I’m meeting with the amazing Ever Rich DFS team to prepare a special book that celebrates the company’s 18th birthday (a very auspicious landmark in the Taiwanese culture) and to view the new downstore store in the Neihu district.

It’s a hectic end to a hectic year. That holiday break is starting to look as attractive as the beach in front of my Miami bureau.

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