Adapt and Survive: Matthew Greenbaum, International Shoppes

By Luke Barras-hill |

Greenbaum-main-AdaptUS travel retailer International Shoppes says the Trump administration’s Covid-19 travel ban on 26 European countries in the Schengen area last month prompted initial shock, but that is ‘now over’.

Speaking to TRBusiness in the latest instalment of the ‘Adapt & Survive’ Skype video interview series, International Shoppes Vice President Matthew Greenbaum states that while the company remains in ‘triage mode’ as it weathers the current climate, it has mapped out a good path to something resembling operational normality.

He praises the company’s employees as ‘heroes’ and ‘super stars’ and reaffirmed his confidence in them as he acknowledges the long road to recovery that lies ahead.

The duty free and speciality retailer runs airport concessions at the likes of Boston Logan, Washington Dulles, Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall, Bradley, George Bush Intercontinental and New York JFK International Airports and commands an online presence at iShoppes.com.

While the company has put some thought into developing and evolving – International Shoppes possesses what Greenbaum acknowledges as a ‘pretty robust’ digital footprint in the US and earlier this year went live with a WEChat account to communicate with customers – the priority at this time is focusing on seeing out the storm in the coming weeks and months.

“We have had conversations with a number of beauty brands about selling merchandise online to customers from our airport database and those are getting some positive feedback,” he reveals. “But for now, we are putting all our resources into getting beyond this crisis.”

At JFK, International Shoppes witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts caused by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and while those events have left a ‘deep scar’, Covid-19 is labelled as ‘an order of magnitude beyond 9/11’.

“[During 9/11] as a country we rallied, as an industry we rallied… but Covid-19 is different. It is an invisible enemy and everyone feels vulnerable right now. This is materially darker and worse, at least on an economic front.”

A wide-ranging discussion also touches on the multi-billion dollar stimulus package for US airports as part of the US$2tn coronavirus relief bill announced by the Senate last week, plus relief efforts for retail concessionaires.

For more information and to get involved in Adapt & Survive, Contact: [email protected]; [email protected] 

Click below links to view other videos in the series:

Julie Lassaigne, Secretary General, ETRC

Sam Gerber, Managing Partner Skross and Vice President Corporate, TFWA

John Woodhouse, Managing Partner, Schäfer Airport Retail

Peter Mohn, CEO and Co-founder, m1nd-set

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