CLEVELAND — The Akron-Canton Airport has launched a new program aimed at helping minority-owned businesses reach thousands of potential customers each week.
According to airport officials, the Business Catalyst program encourages the success of disadvantaged and minority-owned business enterprises by supplying terminal space at a trial rate.
Celeste Brown is the owner of Defining Enterprises, and she said her business is one of the first in this new program.
She now has two automated retail vending machines placed in the airport, one before and one after security.
She said inspiration for her business came to her while she was walking through an airport in another state and saw a cosmetics vending machine. She said she realized there wasn’t anything similar to that at the Akron-Canton Airport, her home airport.
“It would be an opportunity for people to buy beauty products from a machine versus going to a retail brick and mortar store,” Brown explained.
Inside of the vending machines is everything you might need or might have forgotten to pack for your trip.
“Anything like your hygiene products, your toothpastes and deodorants,” she explained. “Travel accessories like umbrellas. We have a travel-size curling iron available.”
She said she is excited to be a part of the Akron-Canton Airport Business Catalyst program and appreciates the effort to help minority-owned businesses.
“A lot of times it’s hard to get into an airport environment as a small business,” she said. “This is a great opportunity to grow our brand.”
Brown said this is just the beginning and she hopes to place her machines in more airports in the future.