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City to consider cafe, food service at airport

Lisa Dunlap Photo Summit Food Service, which is working with several organizations in the area now, wants to operate a cafe, micro-market and vending services in the Roswell Air Center terminal building. Food operations closed there in March 2020 due the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Roswell Air Center could have food service in its airport terminal building starting in January if city councilors agree to a lease with Summit Food Service LLC of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Summit has been running the food operations for the Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell campus since early 2021 and also works in this area with the International Law Enforcement Academy, Chaves County and some school districts, according to one of its managers. The company is part of the Elior Group, an international conglomerate that provides concession, restaurant and catering services under various company names to nonprofit, institutional and airport customers worldwide.

The lease is just one of many items on the agenda for the 6 p.m. Thursday meeting of the Roswell City Council, to be held at the Roswell Convention Center, 912 N. Main St. The meeting is also expected to be livestreamed online.

The last time the airport terminal building at 1 Jerry Smith Circle had food or bar service was in March 2020. The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting public health orders restricting business operations and commercial air travel caused the closure of the Flight Lounge only a few months after it opened. It had been operated by the local family that runs Pecos Flavors Winery & Bistro and The Liberty social club.

The new food and beverage operations will continue to use the name Flight Lounge, city employees said.

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According to city documents, Summit wants to lease 1,685 square feet of the terminal building, which consists primarily of the kitchen, storage and dining area on the ground floor near the secured entrance to the commercial airlines passenger gate.

The lease would begin Jan. 1 and run until Dec. 31, with the city and Summit having the option to extend it for up to seven additional one-year terms. Under the proposed term of the lease, the company would provide the city with a percentage of its net sales on a monthly basis, which would increase over the years. The initial percentage would be 4. By year two, the company would pay 6%. By year three, it would provide 8%, and, for years four to seven, it would pay 10%.

Summit District Manager Rene Ruiz said in September that the company plans to offer a cafe and a micro-market offering such menu items as sandwiches, salads or hamburgers.

The bar or lounge and its more formal dining options are scheduled to be part of a separate lease to be considered at a future date, Jenna Lanfor, property manager and contract coordinator with the Roswell Air Center, told city councilors at a Nov. 18 committee meeting.

Lanfor said the company is operating under an interim lease now and cleaning the premises to prepare for opening. She added that the company plans a phase three that would include another micro-market on the unsecured side of the building.

City documents also indicate that the company intends to supply vending machines in the secured passenger area at some point under the original lease.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.