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Need a Last-Minute Gift? Airport Vending Machines Are Stepping Up Their Games

Aug. 30, 2019
4 min read
Need a Last-Minute Gift? Airport Vending Machines Are Stepping Up Their Games
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Souvenir shopping at the airport can be the pits.

Beyond lame shot glasses, T-shirts, over-priced regional food items and sports-team memorabilia, there’s often not much that’s truly new and gift-worthy in stock.

Or that won’t give you away as a last-minute shopper.

That’s where SouveNEAR’s vending machines really come to the rescue.

Like the Best Buy vending units found now in about 50 airports nationwide, SouveNEAR’s vending machines are open 24/7.

But that’s where the similarity ends.

While Best Buy machines sell standard gear you can find anywhere — but gear the forgetful may need right now — SouveNEAR’s vending machines are stocked with carefully curated gift items made by local artists.

Travelers can now shop for souvenirs via vending machines at a growing number of US airports. (Image courtesy of SouveNEAR)

That means you can stock up on unique souvenirs from a trip without letting on that you shopped at the airport.

Until now, SouveNEAR’s art-filled machines could be found at just four airports: Kansas City International Airport (8 locations), Oakland International Airport (3 locations), Newark Liberty International Airport (2 locations) and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport ( 4 locations).

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But starting Sept. 6, SouveNEAR is expanding its footprint with an around-the-clock automatic art-shop-in-a-box in the Sacramento International Airport (SMF).

In October, there will be a 24/7 SouveNEAR art-vending machine opening in Terminal C at McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas.

What’s for sale?

This 'Neon Cactus Vintage' Nevada necklace can be bought at a SouveNEAR vending machine at the Las Vegas airport. (Image courtesy of SouveNEAR)

The handmade items range from jewelry, pins and patches to baby clothing, arty T-shirts and handmade candy and cards. Prices range from $4 to about $50.

"In each city, we work with locals connected within the arts community to scout for truly local goods. We visit local craft fairs, markets, etc.,” said Suzanne Southard, SouveNEAR co-founder. “The stock varies and changes depending upon the location. And we use real-time reporting of inventory levels to stock as needed.”

SouveNEAR’s vending machine at the Sacramento airport will reflect the city’s focus on the Farm-to-Table movement and a commitment to all things local, said Betsy Wolf, SouveNEAR’s West Coast manager.

At SMF, look for products such as Brittle California’s almond brittle made with locally grown California almonds and handmade goat’s milk soap made by Sweet Blossom Company with milk from a local goat farm.

Visitors to Sacramento's airport (SMF) can buy this 'City of Trees' T-shirt from an airport vending machine. (Image courtesy of SouveNEAR)

In Las Vegas, which has seen a rebirth in the local arts scene, Wolf said SouveNEAR’s products will include items that reflect the city’s quirky, unique culture.

The LAS SouveNEAR machine will include handmade necklaces by Neon Cactus Vintage; dark chocolate bars by Happy Ending Chocolate, hand-decorated with edible gold leaf foil; and iconic Las Vegas-style signs recreated in enamel by Battle Born Pins.

A picture map of California is yours for the buying at a SouveNEAR vending machine at the Sacramento airport. (Image courtesy of SouveNEAR)
Featured image by Travelers can now shop for souvenirs via vending machines at a growing number of US airports. (Image courtesy of Sally Morrow photography)