Store lets fliers sample region

It's three stores in one, but it's also a one-stop shopping place if you're looking for certain items with a distinct Kentucky flavor.

Blue Grass MarketPlace has opened its doors at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. It's in the terminal lobby, so it's accessible to travelers and non-travelers alike.

On one side is the Keeneland Gift Shop, which offers items bearing the logo of Lexington's famous Keene land Race Course, including shirts and ties. The Keeneland Gift Shop also carries a large selection of the popular Vera Bradley purses.

On the other side is The Paddock, which sells University of Kentucky-themed merchandise and Kentucky-made food and beverages, including Woodford Reserve bourbon balls, Ruth Hunt bourbon balls, Maker's Mark gourmet sauces and Bluegrass Steaks & Everything Sauce. The Paddock also has equine-themed toys. Plans are for The Paddock to have World Equestrian Games merchandise on hand in time for the 2010 Games, which will be in Central Kentucky.

There's also a section with candy, magazines and the usual travel items.

"It brings the Kentucky flair into the airport," said airport spokeswoman Amy Caudill.

The shop also will ship items.

Visitors to Blue Grass MarketPlace can watch live horse racing on flat-screen televisions in the store while they're browsing.

The Paradies Shops, a well-known airport retailer, operates Blue Grass MarketPlace. In a couple of weeks, The Paradies Shops will reopen a store selling prints of photographs and paintings with equine themes. The store has been closed because of changes being made in Blue Grass Airport's lobby area. That store will be near Blue Grass MarketPlace.

The Paradies Shops also will open a CNBC News Lexington shop between Concourses A and B at Blue Grass Airport in the near future.