Airport Franchising Causes Concerns


The only minority-owned business in the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport terminal was asked to leave earlier this week to make room for Starbucks Coffee. But an outpouring of support for Sarah’s Ice Cream and Bakery may let the small shop stay open.
The airport’s primary concessionaire Host Marriott Services told Sarah’s owners Steve and Maryon Habtemariam they had until September 30th to shut down their 16-year-old business. For Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans, that offer represented a ‘great injustice” that was akin to asking the family ‘to become sharecroppers.”

Host has the exclusive rights to franchise Starbucks at North American airports and said Starbucks had vetoed a proposal to let Sarah’s stay on. So Host presented the Habtemariams with an alternative: manage a Great American Bagel franchise inside the airport.

On Friday, the Habtemariams agreed to manage a bagel franchise. Yesterday, they sent a letter saying they want to operate a Sarah’s in the main terminal, too, and say they’re hopeful they can reach an agreement.

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