By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 03, 2019 at 10:16 AM

In advance of the arrival of the 2020 Democratic National Convention next summer Mitchell International Airport will get 22 new or remodeled shops and restaurants, according to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Among the new concessions is a Summerfest Marketplace, offering Big Gig merch to the more than 7 million travelers who pass through the airport each year.

"Today’s announcement features an outstanding mix of local brands that reflect the spirit and culture of Milwaukee, as well as established national brands that travelers know and trust," County Executive Abele said in a statement Wednesday morning.

"Airports continuously update and modernize their retail and dining offerings to stay current with passenger expectations, and Milwaukee County is excited to move forward with this refresh."

In the main terminal the new retail shops will be, in addition to Summerfest Marketplace, Bay View Exchange, Third Ward Crossing, Girl in the Moon, Brighton, Spanx, No Boundaries, PGA, Scoreboard and TripAdvisor.

As part of the changes in this area, the Mitchell Gallery of Flight museum will replace the Milwaukee Markeplace and the USO Lounge will be moved to the main concourse, pre-security.

Chili’s Too on Concourse C will be remodeled and there will be a new Starbucks and Cousins Subs, too.

On Concourse D, the Usinger’s will get a refresh and a new Great American Bagel Company will open.

Concourse E is closed for transformation into the airport’s new international gates.

"While these renovations and replacements won’t change the footprint or layout of the Airport, they will enhance the look of the Airport and appeal to today’s travelers," Airport Director Brian Dranzik said in a news release. "The changes will also increase revenue for the Airport, which can help us bring more air service to MKE."

Abele said that the new retails spaces have been created in partnership with Paradies Lagardère and bring a nearly $7 million investment to Mitchell Internations.

"We’re doing all of this with no property tax dollars from Milwaukee County," Abele said. "MKE’s new agreement with Paradies includes 30 percent participation from local Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, which exceeds the County’s goal of 25 percent. This partnership highlights Milwaukee County’s commitment to racial equity by supporting local businesses owned by women and people of color."

The RFP for the retail changes was issued last year.

"Paradies Lagardère is thrilled to introduce these new shops to MKE," said Gregg Paradies, president and CEO, Paradies Lagardère, in the release.

"We're not only bringing popular, internationally-known brands, but several locally-influenced concepts. We're confident that the retail program Paradies Lagardère has developed for MKE, an airport we've had a long-standing, successful relationship with, will offer travelers an enhanced customer experience unlike any other."

Added Steve Johnson, president and CEO of HMSHost, which also partners on the airport retail and food service, "HMSHost is proud to be a part of MKE’s transformation, and we are honored to bring passengers a diverse choice of exceptional restaurants. We would like to thank Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport and Milwaukee County for our continued partnership to enhance the Airport experience and give travelers memorable dining options."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.