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Aviation Commission, Buffalo Rock reach concessions agreement

Albany-based company will offer four vending options at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport

ALBANY — As the saying goes, it appears when you snooze, you lose. At least with the Albany-Dougherty Aviation Commission.

The commission voted Monday at its monthly meeting not only to go with a vending concessions option at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport’s new terminal building, but also to sign a one-year contract with Buffalo Rock to supply the concessions at the terminal.

Daniel Hadden and Patrick Seiy of Albany-based Buffalo Rock were on hand at the commission meeting to make their pitch for concessions rights, while two other companies that had made proposals — the Dothan, Alabama-based Pepi Companies and FUNction Events of Albany — failed to attend the meeting.

“Buffalo Rock was at the table; that has to count for something,” Airport Director Yvette Aehle said Tuesday morning. “Their representatives were there to answer questions about concerns board members had, and that obviously had a lot to do with the decision that was made.

“I believe (the vending option) was really the best option for us because of the (relatively light) foot traffic we have at the airport. It didn’t make sense to put another $25,000 into a concessions area when it’s not likely you’re going to get the traffic to justify the cost.”

Board member Dr. Frank Middleton originally offered a motion to accept the vending option over the more expensive tenant option in building out the concessions area at the airport terminal, but fellow member Bob Langstaff suggested holding off on the vote — or perhaps amending it — to allow Aehle to negotiate a possible vending agreement with Buffalo Rock. Commission Chairman Bill Mayher, however, called for a vote on the vending vs. tenant option only.

When the board approved the vending option, Buffalo Rock’s Hadden said the company would accept a one-year agreement to supply vending concessions at the terminal if the board would forego its commission (usually 10 percent) on products sold during that time. Commission payments would resume in 2015.

“That would give us an opportunity to establish a history at the airport,” Hadden said.

The commission unanimously accepted the terms.

Aehle said Tuesday morning she’d met with the Buffalo Rock representatives after Monday’s meeting and had come up with a location to place vending machines in the five- to six-month period before design and construction are completed on the concessions area.

“That will give them some history, give them an opportunity to determine what products work best at the terminal,” the airport director said.

Buffalo Rock’s proposal includes a bottled drink vendor (which will carry Pepsi and a limited number of Coke products), a snack vendor, a cold food vendor that will carry sandwiches and other prepackaged foods, and a Tassimo single-cup coffee brewer that will allow customers to “custom-make the kind of coffee product they want,” Aehle said.

With two vending machines “out of sight, out of mind” in the old McAfee Terminal Building at the airport, Buffalo Rock realized sales of $7,261.02 in 2013.