Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa airport seeks to become shopping destination

Spirit Airline employees Ted Wood, left, and Sammy Kirk check out Tampa International’s new Harley-Davidson store.

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

Spirit Airline employees Ted Wood, left, and Sammy Kirk check out Tampa International’s new Harley-Davidson store.

You wait to check bags, wait to shuffle through security lines, wait at the gate for the plane that leaves late. Odds are, you're spending more time than ever at the airport.

The point isn't lost on those in charge, says Harriet Baskas, a travel columnist who also writes a blog called Stuck at the Airport. "Airports realized people were coming earlier and said: Let's make it a nicer place to be — and an easier place to spend money," she says.

Look no farther than Tampa International Airport. In the past week, three familiar brands opened for business on the bustling third-floor transfer level.

Sales clerks encouraged passers-by to hop aboard a custom Soft Tail cycle bolted down in front of the Harley-Davidson store. For sale inside hung all things Harley, from $400 leather jackets to a dog toy that emits a motorcycle roar when Fido chomps down. Harley T-shirts are the biggest sellers.

Around the corner, workers set up a free-standing Brookstone with roll-aboard bags, vibrating massage pillows and rings that read your heart rate. Tasty scents wafted from Carrabba's Italian Grill, which served its first lunches Tuesday.

The new arrivals are the last piece of a $13.8-million retail and restaurant remodeling, paid by concessions contractor HMS Host.

Airports are taking a financial hit from the sharp drop in passengers. Officials at a recent conference discussed making up the shortfall by finding new ways for travelers to spend more, Baskas said. Some of new trends:

Spas: The largest chain, ExpresSpa, offers a menu of table and chair massages, manicures, pedicures and facials in more than 25 airports in the United States, Mexico and Europe. Enroute Massage and Spa in Indianapolis has a 20-minute treatment with three technicians performing neck and shoulder, foot and hand massage all at once. At Tampa International, Cole's Hair Cuts offers chair massages.

Wine bars: Best known is Vino Volo, in nine U.S. airports. Each has a wine lounge, tasting bar, restaurant and retail counter. The shops are located behind security checkpoints, so taking bottles on the plane is no problem.

Pet kennels: Not inside the terminal but on airport property. Besides boarding, they often have pools, grooming and massage. Some offer Web camera feeds so owners can check in on pets and 24-hour staffing for dropoff and pickup. TIA doesn't have one. But a franchise called Camp Bow Wow (for dogs only) operates in nearby Drew Park.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Tampa airport seeks to become shopping destination 11/25/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 29, 2008 11:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Walmart expands grocery delivery service to Tampa

    Retail

    TAMPA — Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service to Tampa, the company announced Monday. Five locations will offer delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  2. Marina at Hudson Beach poised to become 24-unit condominium-hotel

    Business

    HUDSON — One of the mainstay businesses at Hudson Beach is poised for redevelopment into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.

  3. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  4. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone

    Macdill

    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?
  5. New apartment complex delivers unique floor plans



    Business

    RIVERVIEW — A new luxury apartment community has opened in the Progress Village area touting itself as a distinct living option just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.

    Alta at Magnolia Park dubs its new apartment community, that opened earlier this year in Riverview, a modern and distinct option for living just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.