About Us

 

Corporate History

Crews’ currently operates three (3) Crews of California/Crews full service news & gift locations in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  Crews was also recently awarded and began operating three (3) food & beverage locations at LAX including a quick serve restaurant, Lemonade, a coffee location, Klatch Coffee and a casual dining bar, Rock & Brews Concert Bar.  Additionally, Crews is the majority partner in Airport Retail Management (ARM), which operates fourteen (14) locations at the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

 

Crews’ current retail locations are located in terminal 1 and Tom Bradley International Terminal. From 2009 – 2012 Crews of California’s news & gift locations produced the highest grossing sales per square foot of any news & gift operator at LAX.

 

As Crews continued to diversify it’s portfolio, in September 2012, the company expanded its food and beverage operation in LAX with the opening of Lemonade in terminal 5 (Delta). Through its partnership with local celebrity chef, Alan Jackson, the man behind Lemonade, a concept that marries quality and convenience beautifully, Lemonade LAX offers seasonal Southern California comfort food in a fast-casual modern cafeteria setting. Lemonade caters to travelers looking for a healthier offerings including quick breakfast, healthy grab and go lunch or dinner and was recently featured on CNN as a key reason LAX ranked #9 healthiest airport in the U.S in 2012.  Lemonade LAX was recently recognized as one of the Top 5 winners in the Best US Airport Food category for the 10Best Readers Choice travel award contest, sponsored by USA TODAY. Lemonade LAX made the 2013 short list for The Moodie Reports third annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Awards.  Lemonade was nominated as a finalist in two (2) different FAB categories out of 209 entrants, including Best Airport Food To Go and Best Fast Food/Quick Service Restaurant (QSR).  Lemonade captures the L.A. spirit of adventure about food, an appreciation of the freshest seasonal ingredients, and a desire to reinterpret familiar dishes with unexpected twists.

 

Crews partnered with Klatch Coffee, a local renowned coffee house and opened this celebrated brand.  This celebrated brand opened in terminal 7 (United) at LAX in December 2012. Not only does Klatch serve award-winning drinks (awarded “Best Espresso in the World” at the 2007 World Barista Championship & awarded Micro Roaster of the Year in 2009 by Roast Magazine) but allows passengers to complement their premium coffee with fresh fruit, amazing signature sandwiches and panini’s, freshly baked muffins, scones and cookies. Klatch has quickly become the coffee house at LAX “where coffee is the conversation.”

 

Crews opened Rock & Brews Concert Bar in terminal 5 (Delta) at LAX in September 2013. This emerging rock-themed dining and entertainment brand, co-founded by rock legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, Michael Zislis and Dave and Dell Furano provides an exciting new dining experience for airport customers. Rock & Brews celebrates great Rock and Roll, creative breakfast options, beer, booze (or libations)- you choose, etc. Rock & Brews provides a great combination of original iconic Rock & Roll Art, music videos and a broad selection of artisan beers, great pizza and rockin’ good music and food.

 

Corporate Team Members

Our team consists of industry veterans and entrepreneurs with over 90 years of combined airport food and beverage, and retail experience, who have owned and operated over fifty units in 25 airports across the United States collectively.

 

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Robert Benjamin Crews, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer

 

Robert Benjamin Crews is a pioneer in the airport industry.   As President and CEO of Crews of California and Crews Enterprises and President of Airport Retail Management, Robert Crews leads these organizations in all policy, strategy and operational oversight.  Crews of California, headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, currently operates multiple full service gift and newsstands, two full service restaurants and, and one coffee location at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Airport Retail Management, Atlanta, GA, currently operates seven news and gift, six specialty retail, and one restaurant, at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA).

 

Robert Crews founded the parent company in 1972 and has the distinction as being the first minority owned company in the US to win and operate a prime concessions contract for all news, gifts and book retail outlets at two major airports (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles).  Mr. Crews was the first in airports to combine news and bookstores with café concepts with the Eight Gate Café at Washington Reagan National Airport in the early 1980s and Benjamin Bookstore Cafes at Dallas Fort Worth (1994) and Hartsfield Jackson Airport (1996).

Mr. Crews served in the United States Army, was a founding member of the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC), member of the National Association of Guardsman, the NAACP and currently serves on the Board of Sociology at Princeton University.

 

Robert Crews’ business and company’s philosophy can be summarized by two words: We Care. We care about our employees and will ensure an environment of fairness and professional development, while providing the tools necessary to perform their jobs at the highest standard. We care about our guests and will treat them with the ultimate customer care while ensuring that their shopping and culinary experiences are exemplary.  We care about the communities where we do business and do our share to give back, whether through internships, partnerships with United Way or other local non-profits and by adopting or partnering with local schools in need.

 

Deborah Honore' Deborah Crews, Chief Operating OfficerDeborah Honore’ Crews is an architect and an entrepreneur and has been an integral part of Crews since 1994. Mrs. Crews has been responsible for as many as fifty-two (52) retail locations and four (4) cafes in the airport hospitality industry. As a key member of the development team, she is responsible for design and construction of all new concession concepts. Mrs. Crews has in the past year expanded her operational duties with the opening of Lemonade, Rock & Brews Concert Bar and Klatch Coffee, three (3) new food and beverage concepts at LAX.   Mrs. Crews oversees the operation of seven news & gift, six specialty retail and one restaurant at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA). Mrs. Crews is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, NAACP, Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) and Founding Board Member of the Delta Education Leadership Training Academy Foundation.Deborah Crews is a firm believer that if you lead by example and create a work environment of fairness, offer training, advancement opportunity and employee recognition, that the result will be an inviting, innovative and exemplary shopping and dining experience for today’s travelers.
David Husack

David M. Husack, CFO & Managing Partner

 

David Husack has over 38 years of diverse experience in the food and beverage and retail airport concessions industry. After receiving his BS degree from Georgia Tech., Mr. Husack began his career in the hospitality industry in the management of day-to-day airport operations with Dobbs Houses.  He held numerous positions with both Marriott and Dobbs in airport concession operations including Controller, General Manager- Atlanta, Regional Vice President, and Vice President of Development.  After twenty years in industry leading corporations, Mr. Husack merged his financial background with his operational knowledge to form his own company to own and operate facilities in airports.  In 1997, he joined with Robert Crews to develop concession opportunities in airports across the country.

 

Mr. Husack currently serves as Chief Financial Officer for Crews. He is a key member of the operations team, from the development phase to oversight of the day–to-day operation. David Husack has chief responsibility for income statements, capital spending, lease administration, new concept development, accounting and human resources.  David Husack strives to ensure Crews maintains detailed and accurate financials while properly forecasting trends and understanding the cause and effects of all changes in Crews’ financials, from yearly company proforma’s to individual unit level daily reporting.

 

Nicholas Bufford

Nicholas Buford, Esq., Managing Partner

 

Nicholas Buford has over ten (10) years experience in the retail, food and beverage/hospitality airport concessions industry. Growing up in the airport concessions industry, Mr. Buford has worked in many facets of the industry including, but not limited to, management of day-to-day operations, human resources, purchasing, and loss prevention. Currently, Mr. Buford heads the development team, with a keen sense for identifying brands and building partnerships, Crews recently was nominated and received worldwide recognition in two categories, Best Airport ‘Food to Go’ and Best Fast Food Quick Service Restaurant (QSR).

 

Nick strives to reinforce the company’s culture/brand while building strong strategic partnerships that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on travelers and the airport industry.

 

Robert Benjamin

Robert B. Crews III, Managing Partner

 

Robert Benjamin Crews, III has worked in every aspect of the Food & Beverage/Hospitality industry for the past fifteen (15) years. After a career in restaurant management, he worked for Crews of California at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) managing retail and warehouse operations. He then came to Atlanta to play a pivotal role in the startup of the fourteen (14) locations of Airport Retail Management at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA).  As Food and Beverage Manager, he assisted in the opening and operation of Café Intermezzo and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. Mr. Crews, now owns and operates his own ACDBE certified firm RC3 Enterprises, LLC and is currently a member of the business development team for Crews.

 

Sterling Burpee, Executive Chef

 

Chef Sterling Burpee has more than 36 years of experience as a professional Chef and Culinary Consultant in the hospitality industry as a chef and culinary team member, opening fine dining and quick serve restaurants as well as buffets, in major hotels and casinos across the country. Prior to joining Crews, Chef Sterling was the Executive Chef and Vice President of Hospitality Operations for The Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, responsible for the career development of food and beverage professionals. Chef Sterling was also previously held executive chef and senior chef positions with the Buffet at the Wynn and the New York Mar Marquis, to name a few.

 

As Executive Chef for Crews, Chef Sterling has oversight of all food and beverage concessions from the development phase to the day-to-day operations. Chef Sterling is a member of the American Culinary Federation and has been recognized as one of top 15 African American Chefs. Chef Sterling leads the Crews team by example and delights in the leadership and training of each food and beverage concession culinary team to ensure food quality, safety and overall guest satisfaction.

 

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Community Outreach

 

Charitable Partnerships

United Way – Creating Path Ways Out of Poverty

 

“Create Pathways Out Of Poverty“. Through Crews of California innovation and responsiveness to the LAX traveling publics philanthropic desires, Crews of California has added United Way donation boxes in each of their locations, committed to a significant company match for all donations as well as offer many valuable United Way services for all it’s employees.

 

United Way of Greater Los Angeles plays an important role in ending poverty across Los Angeles. Together, we’re:

 

  • Increasing access to housing and healthcare
  • Helping students graduate prepared for college and the workforce
  • Providing motivated adults with the training and financial tools they need to thrive

With Crews of California’s help, we’ve made important progress on all three fronts.

 

For example, we’re using your financial support to move homeless families off the street. Because we know that permanent supportive housing is the most effective way to help chronically homeless people. But we’re not only providing housing . . . we’re also providing job training and mental health services to help them break the cycle of poverty.

 

In addition, we’ve launched innovative partnerships to decrease dropout rates and help students succeed at school. Among them is a partnership with middle school principals, whose leadership sets the standard for teachers, parent engagement, and student performance. And by recognizing that after-school programs provide a great opportunity to address academic success and graduation rates, we’ve amplified our support for these important programs.

 

To increase financial stability, we’re bringing businesses partners to the table, to help focus on job training and workforce development of growing fields like healthcare, logistics, and green jobs.

 

Through our partnerships with 165 remarkable nonprofits across L.A. County, we will achieve Pathways Out of Poverty’s ambitious goals.

 

GRYD Foundation

 

The GRYD Foundation works closely with the City of Los Angeles Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development to implement strategies to reduce gang-related violence and to strengthen individuals, families and entire communities.  Crews of California supports the SUMMER NIGHT LIGHTS program, a public and private partnership undertaken by the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (“GRYD”) and The GRYD Foundation.

 

As a violence reduction program, Summer Night Lights (SNL) targets one of the seasons of greatest need, keeping recreation centers and parks open until midnight Wednesdays through Saturdays throughout the summer. The program also expands the menu of activities beyond what is traditionally offered at each of its 32 sites across the City of Los Angeles. SNL gets families to the parks and offers a diverse range of activities so everyone stays and participates.  In addition, the SNL program hires and trains teenagers and young adults from the community who are at-risk for gang involvement and/or gang violence.

 

In the summer of 2012, across 32 sites, the SNL program employed 1700, served 438,360 meals and reported a 33% reduction in crimes for all SNL locations combined. 47% reduction in gang-related homicides and 25% reduction in aggravated assaults.

 

“Hiring Our Heroes” 

 

Crews of California supports our military veterans and recently participated in the “Hiring Our Heroes” job fair at Camp
Pendleton, sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Crews of California recruited individuals of character and discipline who have served their country and are seeking second careers.

 

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Internships

 

Crews of California is currently working with West Los Angeles College to create an innovative entrepreneur internship program that will allow for students to experience all facets of working in the fast pace and exciting airport concessions business.

 

As majority partner of ARM, Crews and the Areas ARM Atlanta JV established a paid internship and mentoring program with the Morehouse College Entrepreneurial Program for select Atlanta University Center (AUC) students to gain exposure to the airport concessions business and to interact with our team of entrepreneurs and managers. As interns, the students receive college-credit for their participation. Starting with the winter semester 2009 to the present,  10-week intern sessions are held providing students with classroom instruction, college credit and on the job problem solving projects. The interns receive a $1,000 stipend. To date, twenty-five students  have participated in the program and one intern joined ARM as an employee following graduation. The students are providing our team with fresh ideas to re-think and examine procedures and practices.

 

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