The pandemic was an unfortunate event for many people, but it also blessed others with life-changing opportunities. Greg Plummer was one of those others.
The airport concession investor and operator took a chance and changed how minority-owned concession business owners are viewed and valued at major U.S airports.
Plummer’s food and beverage career started in his teenage years, and before he knew it, he found his passion in life. He moved from Detroit to Atlanta during his college years and continued to provide food and beverage services to support himself up until 2004. Plummer then moved from Atlanta to L.A. to pursue a career in finance but quickly realized he was miserable and missed his original means of income and life.
In 2005, Plummer resumed his career in food and beverage at LAX, working for CMS Hospitality. He started building relationships throughout the airport as time went on, and he went from working at concessions to owning them.
As the entrepreneur built up his portfolio, many other minority concession owners and investors started to notice, and Plummer saw the opportunity to build something special. He and his partners formed the Concord Collective.
Concord Collective gained its first big win when they acquired eight new concession spaces in LAX terminal one and terminal six, including a few food restaurants and a few beverage stands.
The partnership lasted for three years as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many businesses and impacted airports. Many airport concessions closed down, and some airlines went under because of the lack of employees and lack of business, as people were not traveling often.
While Plummer and the Concord Collective faced difficulties during the pandemic, they also made a monumental deal that will change how minority-owned businesses receive an opportunity in the airport space.
“In 2020, SSP America decided they wanted to focus on other key markets and ultimately divested from LAX,” Plummer said.
“Since I was their partner, they approached me and asked if I would want to participate in buying their contract. I was surprised as I did not think they would want to leave, but when they asked me, I saw an opportunity to become something I had never been. I always wanted to be in the operator ownership capacity, so I asked SSP if I could buy their whole portfolio instead of going into a partnership with a third party,” he said.
SSP America agreed to sell its LAX portfolio to Plummer in 2020, but it would take a year before everything was finalized. Plummer explained why SSP, LAWA and URW, were in support of him owning such a high-profile portfolio.
“I think what makes me the proudest of Concord Collective is that we have actively looked for the best minority-owned business to partner with our suppliers,” he said. “I determine my success by the impact I have on encouraging other small businesses, I want to show them that anything is possible.”