Main Navigation

Detroit Metropolitan Airport welcomes two new small businesses as SOAR program takes flight

News Releases
May 22 2024

DETROIT (May 22, 2024) – Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) has selected Rebel Nell and Quix Chocolate to be the first participants in the “Small Business Operators Arriving Ready” (SOAR) pilot program. SOAR was created to provide business owners the opportunity to operate their specialty retail concept in the Warren Cleage Evans Terminal. Through SOAR, Rebel Nell and Quix Chocolate will showcase their products to thousands of domestic and international travelers every day.


“Rebel Nell and Quix Chocolate will expand our Concessions program and give DTW customers more unique options in the Evans Terminal,” said Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton. “We’re excited to welcome these small businesses as the first participants in the SOAR pilot program as we empower entrepreneurs to take their companies to even higher heights.”


Rebel Nell, based in Detroit, is a jewelry company that provides employment and wraparound support for women who have been faced with homelessness, returning citizens, refugees seeking asylum and awaiting citizenship, the LGBTQIA community, women living with mental illness, and women with physical disabilities.


“We are honored and excited to be a part of the SOAR Small Business Program,” said Rebel Nell Co-Founder and CEO Amy Peterson. “I am grateful to the airport for giving a chance to small businesses. Rebel Nell is a mission-driven company that makes unique jewelry and gifts from meaningful material from Detroit like fallen graffiti, Joe Louis Arena, Belle Isle and Michigan Central Station. As the CEO and founder, I have dreamt of having a store in the airport for years. Now everyone who passes through the Evans Terminal can take home a piece of Detroit...literally.”

Quix Chocolate was founded as a family business in Lanklaar, Belgium in 1947. Quix, now based in Ferndale, Michigan, produces approximately 40 traditional flavors of Belgian chocolates using original recipes. Quix Chocolate is a governing member and sponsor of chocolates to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has been recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business and Hour Detroit Magazine. 

“We are thrilled to be opening a venue at the airport where we will provide travelers with fine Belgian chocolate and confections made in Michigan,” said Quix Chocolate President and Owner David Ogloza. “Quix will be a great addition to the current offering at the airport. Customers across the U.S. and worldwide will have the opportunity to purchase a unique gift or a delicious treat to consume during their travels.”

Rebel Nell and Quix Chocolate will operate out of two newly constructed in-line spaces in the Evans Terminal near gate D12 beginning in August.


The First Lady of Wayne County, Renata C. Evans, formulated the idea of a small business program at DTW several years ago. A former small business owner herself, Mrs. Evans understood the importance of investing in training for entrepreneurs and creating opportunities for them to grow. The Airport Authority is committed to helping small business owners learn how to operate in an airport environment, ensuring they will be ready to thrive on their own in an airport concessions program.

“We’re grateful to Mrs. Evans for bringing us this idea and for helping to develop the program,” Newton said. “Small businesses are at the heart of Michigan's economy and SOAR is one more way DTW is investing in our local communities.”

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) welcomed more than 31 million passengers in 2023. As one of the world’s leading air transportation hubs, DTW offers service from 17 scheduled passenger airlines. Michigan’s largest airport offers approximately 800 flights per day to and from more than 125 nonstop destinations on three continents. With two award-winning passenger terminals, six jet runways, and an onsite AAA Four-Diamond Westin Hotel, DTW is among the world’s most efficient, customer friendly and operationally capable airports in North America. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport earned Airports Council International’s 2020 and 2022 Airport Service Quality Award for Best Airport by Size and Region (25 to 40 million passengers per year in North America). DTW also ranked #1 in Customer Satisfaction among Mega Airports in the J.D. Power 2023 North America Airport Satisfaction Study and scored highest among the following study factors: Security Check, Food/Beverage and Retail Services, and Terminal Facilities. DTW is operated by the Wayne County Airport Authority, which also operates nearby Willow Run Airport – an important corporate, cargo and general aviation facility. The Airport Authority is entirely self-sustaining and does not receive tax dollars to support airport operations. Visit for more information.

MEDIA LINE: (734) 247-7379