Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) was named the winner of Airport Council International-North America’s (ACI-NA) Award of Excellence this week at an ACI-NA business conference in Arizona.

The Award of Excellence, named for Richard A. Griesbach, “recognizes the most remarkable, innovative work in airport concessions as North American airports strive to improve the passenger experience,” said Kevin M. Burke, president and CEO of ACI-NA. “Terminal 1 at MSP is a prime example of this work.”

The Griesbach award is one of the airport industry’s top honors, recognizing innovative and outstanding airport concessions programs throughout North America.

Last year was a record-breaker for concession revenue at MSP, following a three-year revamp of shops and restaurants. The project includes 35 new shops and 45 new restaurants. As the newly renovated spaces have come online, MSP has seen a 27 percent increase in retail sales.

“This award speaks to the detail and thoughtful decision-making that went into every step of the concessions rebid work at MSP,” said Eric Johnson, director of commercial management and airline affairs for the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which owns and operates MSP. “It’s a proud moment for our concessions team, the MAC’s leadership and especially all of our business partners at the airport, who have been committed to the success of the concessions renovations.”

MSP also won honors in several categories of the ACI-NA awards, including a first-place finish in the “Best Retail Program” category.

The other first place finish was for Starbucks in the “Best New National Brand Concept” category. Starbucks opened a new location on MSP’s Airport Mall five months ago and has been a popular draw.

The airport’s food donation program placed second in the “Best ‘Green’ Concessions Concept or Practice” category. Loaves and Fishes, a Minneapolis-based non-profit that serves free meals, picks up ready-to-eat items donated by airport concessionaires and distributes them the same day to those in need.

MSP Airport also finished third in the “Best Food and Beverage Program – Large Airport” division.

Food Truck Alley – a food court on Concourse E at Terminal 1 where meals are served out of the exteriors of actual trucks – placed second in the “Best New Food and Beverage (quick-serve concept)” category.