New Shops in Chicago Airports Cleared for Takeoff

O'Hare and Midway airports would get a smorgasbord of concessions – new and old -- under agreements advanced by a City Council committee Tuesday after a marathon gripe session.

Hispanic aldermen complained about a shortage of Hispanic concessionaires at Chicago airports.

Rival bidders chimed in with claims that the first open competition in a decade for lucrative news and gift shop concessions at O'Hare was unfair -- that the way the bid was structured gave the incumbent, Hudson News and Gifts, the inside track.

Instead of inviting competition by dividing the news and gift shop concession into smaller bites, the Daley administration put all 25 locations into a single package against the advice of its concessions manager.

But the Aviation Committee approved Hudson's seven-year extension anyway. Also awarded O'Hare concessions were Garrett popcorn shops (two locations); Barbara's Bookstore (five); Auntie Anne's pretzels (two) and Nuts on Clark (two). The list also includes CIBO Express Gourmet Market, which will operate O'Hare's first grocery store.

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