The U.S. National Park Service has selected a subsidiary of Buffalo-based Delaware North Cos. to run concessions at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia under a new 10-year contract.
Under a contract that starts Jan. 1, DNC Parks and Resorts will run the park’s lodging, retail shops, food and beverage, and other commercial services for park visitors, including at Skyland Resort and Big Meadows Lodge.
The deal expands Delaware North’s growing national parks concessions business, which already manages various visitor services in Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone, Olympic and Grand Canyon national parks. The company also manages visitor services at Niagara Falls State Park and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida and also manages or owns several resorts in the United States, Canada and Australia.
As part of the deal, Delaware North has to increase the number of resort rooms that meet handicapped accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The contract also requires removal of two gas stations to improve environmental safety, and the company has to provide fresher and healthier food for visitors.
Delaware North succeeds longtime concession operator Aramark Corp. of Philadelphia, which had been running the park’s concessions since 1972. According to the Park Service, Aramark last year employed more than 250 people and generated $13.9 million in gross revenues from its contract, and Delaware North will be reaching out to current employees and the local community “to ensure a smooth transition into the park.”
More than 1.2 million people visited Shenandoah National Park in 2010, spending more than $70 million and supporting nearly 1,100 jobs in the local area.
Founded in 1915 by the Jacobs brothers, Delaware North is the second-largest private company in Western New York and one of the largest in the country, with $2.6 billion in annual revenues and more than 55,000 employees, including 4,100 in Western New York.
The global hospitality and food service provider serves 500 million customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand through its hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations.
Besides the parks, the company runs concessions and other operations at hotels, casinos, airports, sports and entertainment complexes and highway service areas, and also owns the TD Garden in Boston, which is home to the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins.