Las Vegas-based retail business grows to cater to air travelers

If retail is indeed dying, no one has told the folks at Marshall Retail Group.

Independent specialty retailer with more than 600 employees based in Las Vegas and more than 1,300 in the United States and Canada, the company is on a growth trajectory that is not expected to slow anytime soon, according to its president and chief operating officer , David Charles.

“Our growth is quite rapid,” said Charles, who has been with the company for more than three years.

While many of those who pass by its stores may not be familiar with the Marshall Retail Group name, they have likely been in or at least near one. The company rents space in tourist locations such as airports and casinos and creates specialty stores for brands such as Lego, Harley-Davidson and Misura.

It operates 170 stores in 16 states, with its brand new “Welcome to Las Vegas” store at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops, which opened in August. In total, Marshall Retail has more than 20 “Welcome to Las Vegas” stores in the valley.

At McCarran International Airport alone, there are 10 stores, according to an airport spokeswoman.

“We create retail concepts for the traveling customer,” said Charles. “What the customer wants is constantly evolving. You won’t find us in malls in general, that’s not our thing. We develop concepts, do the design and build, purchase the product and employ the store staff.

Airports, which have a coveted captive customer base, are a big part of Marshall Retail’s growth strategy.

Charles said Marshall Retail plans to add stores at airports in Atlanta, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Orlando and a “major” West Coast airport soon.

“We are focused on finding growth opportunities and airports are becoming more pleasant,” said Charles. “A lot of money is spent on developing airport environments. They’re spending $ 4 billion to upgrade Terminal B at La Guardia, and we’re there. What they have done so far is magnificent.

The company was founded in the mid-1950s by Art Marshall and Herb Rousso in Las Vegas and has mostly kept a low profile over the decades.

Part of the reason is that the company is essentially the brand behind the brand, Charles said.

“With a brand, that brand represents one thing,” Charles said. “The whole history of this brand is linked to one thing. With us, we can transform, adapt and evolve without worrying about people knowing us as something else. We can adapt and offer thousands of brands as the customer evolves.

With around 177,000 individual items for sale in its store catalog and nearly 50 employees in its merchandising department alone, Marshall Retail is a large operation filled with people who stay on top of the latest trends.

It’s also a fun company to work for, said Patty Wiggins, senior vice president of fashion at Marshall Retail.

“I have been with MRG for over 16 years,” said Wiggins. “What we do is so unique, we don’t take a cookie-cutter approach. It is exciting and fun to work for a company that is growing in leaps and bounds like we are.

As media headlines continue to portray the demise of the traditional retail store, Marshall Retail does not accept this narrative.

“With traditional brick and mortar retailing, you read that someone has filed for bankruptcy,” Charles said. “It’s symptomatic of the way brands react to the evolution of the customer. We do the hard work of curating and putting the interesting things in front of the client. Amazon has all of these algorithms, but how are they going to know that you are exactly at La Guardia, and that we have put a “Made in Queens” book in front of you? This is the time and place.

For Charles, algorithms and technology can improve the convenience of the shopper, but they still fail to deliver an experience.

“People are looking to connect,” Charles said. “Part of what we do is give traveling consumers a chance to give away a piece of what they just experienced. This is the magic moment and this is what the retail business is trying to achieve. Products are rich in stories if you research them and teach your associates how to represent them.

It is likely, said Charles, that the business will continue to grow in the years to come.

“We could get a lot bigger,” Charles said. “With what we’ve gained lately at airports, we’ve doubled our size in three or four years. That’s pretty big growth, and I think we can continue to do so.

Anne G. Cash