By Cheryl Albiez, Media Relations Staff
With the holidays right around the corner, passengers traveling through Newark Liberty International Airport now have a chance to purchase unique, locally made gifts right from a vending machine.
These aren’t your average mass produced key chains and tchotchkes. SouveNear vending machines – like an indie craft fair in a box – showcase items that don’t just have the name of the city where they’re located. Rather, these mementos reflect the community and the people that make the region vibrant.
SouveNEAR partners with local artists who capture the essence of the area to design and locally produce items such as t-shirts, jewelry, soaps, pins, patches and chocolate that are sold through repurposed snack machines. Newark Liberty is the company’s first East Coast location.
The Port Authority is working with hundreds of certified minority, women-owned, small, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWSDBEs), such as SouveNEAR, in various projects both large and small.
With small business as the backbone of the economy, the Port Authority has a longstanding commitment to ensuring that local businesses have the opportunity to do more work with the agency, an important goal in driving the economic prosperity of the region. And the potential customer base is powerful, with an estimated 43 million passengers coming through the airport last year alone.
“Providing this kind of access to this many potential customers not only supports the work of those who live here, but also promotes their talents, while offering our passengers products that were actually made in the city they just visited,” said Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley Lawrence.
“Certainly the New York City/New Jersey metro area is a natural fit for us, with the number of tourists and the lively creative scene,” said SouveNEAR co-founder Tiffany King. “SouveNEAR aims to support local artists by increasing their visibility in tourist-filled venues, and to offer travelers interesting local options when they’re looking for souvenirs.”
The menu of locally produced food, clothing and other and products is far-ranging, from artistic ventures such as Annie Draws Stuff, a maker of temporary tattoos and stickers, and chocolate-covered pretzels created by Fatty Sundays to the Loop Collection, an eco-friendly clothing line for babies and kids, and with offices in Brooklyn and Scotch Plains, N.J.
The company placed its first machine in the Kansas City International Airport in 2014 to help travelers buy last-minute souvenirs that were actually designed and produced in the city. It has since expanded its operations to include the new Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco, a Marriott in Emeryville, Cal., and the Oakland, Cal. airport.
Said Aurelien Coste, who manages SouveNEAR’s New York and New Jersey operations: “We hope Newark Airport passengers will appreciate having a unique selection of gifts and souvenirs made right here in New York and New Jersey.”