Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Arrivals at Tampa International Airport: Victoria's Secret? Spanx? HSN?

TAMPA — The new retail options vying to do business at the renovated Tampa International Airport include Guess, HSN, the PGA, Quiksilver, Spanx, Tommy Bahama, Tumi, Victoria's Secret — and Beanie Babies.

Dylan's Candy Bar, an exclusive candy boutique from Dylan Lauren, daughter of designer Ralph Lauren, also wants to open shop at TIA. So does Marc by Marc Jacobs, the designer's more affordable line, and high-end housewares designer Jonathan Adler.

Those national names could be joined by well-known local brands like the Salvador Dalí Museum, Lowry Park Zoo, the Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Tribune and WFLA-Ch. 8.

But the airport could also say goodbye to old fixtures like the Author's Bookstore and Cole's Hair Cuts.

Tampa International is revamping all of its bars, restaurants and shops as it undergoes a massive construction project that is set to be finished around 2017.

All of the concessions contracts were put up for rebid, and the airport told bidders that their plans need to reflect the Tampa Bay region.

Many national concessionaire companies fulfilled that requirement by signing deals to bring local versions of the bay area's most popular bars and restaurants — Cigar City Brewing, Datz, Four Green Fields and Ulele — to TIA.

But how could retailers do the same?

That answer was revealed in hundreds of pages of proposed retail contracts: The concessions companies signed deals to brand their airport stores using local brands and media properties.

The Tampa Bay Times, for example, has deals with concessionaire companies to lend its brand to airport retail stores in the main terminal and airsides. Those shops would offer a prominent place to sell Times newspapers and display its website, tampabay.com, on flat-screen TVs.

So did other local media properties like the Tribune and WFLA. The TV-branded stores would display video content from those TV stations.

CNBC, Univision and U.S. News & World Report are some of the national media brands that could adorn airport shops. Which media properties get which spots in the airport depends on which concessionaires' bids prevail.

Times vice president of sales and marketing Bruce Faulmann said the newspaper wants to maintain its marketing presence and brand visibility at the airport.

"Tampa International Airport is a world-class facility," Faulmann said. "We've had a marketing presence there for many years.

"We are Tampa Bay's largest newspaper. When you enter this marketplace and you're going to consume news and information, we clearly want to make an impact on everyone going through that airport."

Faulmann said that under the agreements the Times reached with airport concessionaires, the newspaper would lend its brand to the proposed airport shops in exchange for the exposure that brand would receive.

The newspaper has the final say over how its brand would be used. There don't appear to be exclusive deals, so multiple media brands could be displayed at the airport.

There are also agreements for popular attractions like the Salvador Dalí Museum and Lowry Park Zoo to lend their names and merchandise to airport shops.

Susan Stackhouse, the CEO of longtime TIA concessionaire Stellar Partners Inc., came up with another way to fulfill the airport's requirement.

First, she's a local product herself. The Tampa businesswoman started Stellar Partners in 1998 and now runs several shops at TIA and 45 stores total in 10 airports. Local ownership and investment is a part of the airport's requirements.

Second, her plans to keep doing business at the airport include selling homegrown drink and food options: Buddy Brew Coffee, Fitlife Foods, Toffee-to-Go and William Dean Chocolates.

She wants to bring back her current airport shops like Ron Jon Surf Shop and Swarovski. But she has also signed deals with new local partners like St. Petersburg's HSN and Ybor City's homegrown fashion brand Black & Denim. Stackhouse declined to comment about her proposal.

The airport is ranking the concession bids and could release a short list of candidates as soon as Tuesday. The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which oversees the airport, will select the winning bids in June.

The airport hopes to finish its $943 million construction project by 2017. The new bars, restaurants and shops are expected to be open by then.

Contact Jamal Thalji at [email protected] or (813) 226-3404. Follow @jthalji.

     
     
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