A baker sharing his family recipe for Charleston Chewies with the world.
A confectionaire specializing in Kosher and Halal food practices.
A curator of unique dolls and artwork made from natural materials.
These three local businesses with a unique and regional flare are now open at Charleston International Airport. Daddy’s Girls Bakery, LMM Dolls & Gifts and King Street Cookies are the first three of four kiosk businesses to open under the airport’s brand new Specialty Leasing Program. A fourth kiosk specializing in Cuban food, is scheduled to open in mid-May.
“We’re excited to welcome these new businesses,” said Paul G. Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority. “The kiosk program is a business initiative designed to create direct and affordable opportunities for small and niche businesses to work in a vibrant travel and hospitality environment. With nearly 4 million passengers coming through the airport last year, and even more expected in 2018, we think the climate is right for these local businesses to succeed and to show off what the Lowcountry has to offer.”
LMM Dolls & Gifts and Daddy’s Girls Bakery are on Concourse A while King Street Cookies is on Concourse B. The open nature of the post-security airport environment means passengers can walk back and forth between concourses to take advantage of all the shopping and dining offered at CHS.
Here’s a look at each of Charleston International Airport’s Specialty Leasing Program Kiosks.
Concourse A – Daddy’s Girls Bakery
Nathaniel and Chasity Brown’s business began as a love story. The pair met in 2009. Along with Chasity’s daughter, the couple shared their time together baking and decorating cakes and other sweet treats for friends and family. Two years later they married and added twin daughters to their family.
When a relative passed away the 70-year-old family recipe for the Charleston Chewies was passed down to Nathaniel – and a business was born. Another set of twins later, for a total of five kids, the Browns worked double time to turn their hobby into a home-based business run that would sustain their young family. Their Charleston Chewie, their signature item, is now sold along with cake pops and other treats through their catering business and locally at events and the Charleston Night City Market.
“Our Charleston Chewies will appeal to travelers because they are a local staple that they cannot get anywhere else, the Browns said. “We wanted to open the kiosk at the airport because we saw it as an awesome opportunity to not only get our business more recognizable locally but internationally as well.”
Concourse A – Liz Me Mel Dolls & Gifts
LMM Dolls & Gifts is run by a husband and wife team of Tyrone and Faith Wilson
who got their start at the Charleston City Market downtown.
“We started in the historic Charleston City Market as a temporary vendor. Some days we had the opportunity to work and other days we wished we could have worked,” the Wilsons said. “We needed a second income coming into the home but still needed the flexibility to drive our young family to various events at varying times.”
At the City Market the Wilsons became permanent vendors in 2008. There, and in the airport, they will sell handmade items created from recycled materials like wood and metal. Unique wall art, treasure boxes, metal artwork. In addition, they make their own creations: cotton angels, chinaberry seed jewelry, and handmade Topsy-Turvey dolls, replicas of dolls from the 1800s.
“Being able to share our artwork with travelers from other parts of the world –knowing that a handmade doll or a piece of metal work came from Charleston to take up residence in another town or country is exciting,” the Wilsons said.
Concourse B – King Street Cookies
With the only local bakery certified as Orthodox Kosher and able to meet the dietary restrictions of Halal and cater to vegans, vegetarians and the gluten free, King Street Cookie has cut out a niche for itself in Charleston. Now the downtown bakery is bringing its quick-serve deserts and grab-and-go gourmet cookies and ice cream sandwiches to passengers at the airport.
Harris Cohen opened King Street Cookies four years ago with a plan – start small, perfect the baking business and then expand. The move to expand is on with the airport kiosk and other locations in the Lowcountry.
“After working on Wall Street in New York City for many years, there was the desire to start and build an operating business,” Cohen said. “We want to give travelers a high-quality food option as they arrive in Charleston or as they depart – a first or last “taste of Charleston.”
King Street Cookies touts more than 40 varieties of cookies that are fresh baked daily from scratch without preservatives. “Our products fit perfectly with this fast-paced, grab and go environment,” Cohen said. “We are excited for the opportunity to meet so many people! For those in a hurry, this will be a quick and convenient. For those that want to chat a minute, we will be there.”
Coming in May – Mama Chef Cuban Café
Carlos Munoz’ face is well known around the airport. He’s worked as a ramp agent for Southwest Airlines for 17 years and operated a food truck for many years alongside a catering business.
Airport workers know his food well. He’s catered for most of the airlines and other tenants in the airport. With his wife, Victoria, they will launch the Mama Chef Cuban Café kiosk at the top of Concourse B in mid-May.
Mama Chef will offer sandwiches, empanadas and pastries and non-alcoholic Pina coladas. The Post and Courier once said Mama Chef “has the best Cuban sandwich and Pina Colada in town.”
“We wanted to open in the airport because we were serving our food here with the food truck. Not everyone knows us and we want everyone to have a taste of good food.”
Mama Chef Cuban Cafe will be located at the top of Concourse B. It's opening date will be announced later.