Duty Free Holdings unveils La Boutique store at John Wayne Airport

By Benedict Evans |

The store features an array of  both international and local brands.

Duty Free Holdings LLC has announced an expansion marked by the opening of La Boutique, a woman and minority-owned business, and the first hybrid duty free and duty paid store at John Wayne Airport (JWA).

TRBusiness also spoke with Sonia Acevedo, CEO of DF Express, about the boutique’s arrival at John Wayne Airport.

“With women and people of color playing a big and bigger role in the luxury travel retail industry, we want to ensure they feel represented at La Boutique. Having a proud-Hispanic woman leading this project has allowed different perspectives to be incorporated into the project that we hope will make La Boutique a more welcoming and inclusive store for all,” said Acevedo.

Duty Free Holdings added the launch of this joint venture between Duty Free Holdings and the woman and minority-owned business, DF Express, LLC, at JWA showcases the airport’s commitment to supporting minority-owned businesses.

“John Wayne Airport’s newest retail store, La Boutique, is set to enhance our guests’ experience at the Terminal,” noted Charlene Reynolds, Airport Director at JWA, adding: “Travelers shopping at La Boutique will contribute to the vibrant economic landscape of Orange County, elevating our status as a premier tourist destination. This addition offers a unique gateway to the rich flavours and charm of our local community, attracting more visitors and benefiting local businesses.”

How long did it take to establish this first duty free store?

It was about six years ago when we started discussing with JWA about creating Orange County’s first duty-free store. We quickly saw we were perfect fits for a partnership, with JWA’s vision for the airport that aligned with our constant emphasis on bringing luxurious shopping  and our experience establishing duty-free operations in other airports. We were awarded the bid in 2019, but due to the pandemic, had delays. Thanks to the Airport and our amazing team members, we are able to bring the vision that we conceived six years ago to life today.

Duty Free Holdings is also introducing the “Click and Collect” program which allows travellers to pre-order items online.

Are there plans afoot to further expand the duty free offer?
We hope to bring La Boutique stores to more airports across the US. We have already had some fruitful discussions with other airports that helped us identify the next tranche of our expansion. This expansion plan is aligned with our expansions in FBOs under our ‘Executive Retail Shops’ brand which is the first organization to bring the luxury and tailored product selection that travelers know and love from public airports into FBOs.
How did the launch event go?
We were thrilled by the success of our launch as one of the largest events the airport has hosted since Covid. We had a beautiful ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Airport Director, followed by remarks from many dignitaries including Orange County Supervisor Katherine Foley and Mayor Chris Duncan who outlined the historic impact of Orange County’s first duty-free store. We concluded with some engaging giveaways to all attendees and the first few customers. Stemming from the launch’s success, over 7,000 customers have visited our store over the past 5 days while also engaging over 30,000 unique users on Social Media.
The new 735ft 2 outlet is situated post-security in Terminal B, and Duty Free Holdings LLC (Duty Free Holdings) said La Boutique offers a sophisticated shopping experience with a modern design, showcasing the latest retail concepts and product mix.

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