Starbucks, Brookstone among retailers given slots at airport
By Charlotte Libov
In their latest bid to upgrade retail choices at Miami International Airport, Miami-Dade County commissioners have given slots to Starbucks, Sunglass Hut, Tommy Bahama, Palm One, Brookstone and several other stores and eateries.
The commission voted unanimously last week to grant 14 of 27 new concessions at the airport, 24 of them in the new South Terminal, an airport spokeswoman said.
In recommending the five concession packages, the board's regional transportation committee noted that other bidders were contesting two of the packages. One package was withdrawn but is expected to be brought before the panel again in September.
The concession packages are part of a set of eight requests for proposals the county issued last November. They are for 8-year leases, with an option to extend for two additional years. The packages total 26,800 square feet, said Patricia Ryan, manger of commercial operations.
Commissioner Dennis Moss said the strategy to upgrade the airport's image is beginning to pay off. "We are seeing a positive impact at the airport. People are beginning to take notice," he said.
"Obviously there is a tremendous difference in the attitude about the airport and, as we continue, the public's attitude will be more positive," he said. "We want to make certain we continue to improve on the process."
But he added that he was concerned that not enough local businesses had been encouraged to bid. Ms. Ryan disagreed.
"We hired a consultant. We went through the shopping centers and tried to get the word out to anyone interested," she said. "We softened the requirements as much as we could, and we did everything we could do to try and get local involvement and quality."
Commissioners also sought to make certain that minority representation comprised at least 30% of the businesses. Howard Gregory, acting associate director for minority affairs, said the 30% goal had been exceeded.
"It's higher than we got previously when we did the last solicitation at the airport," he said.
The largest package, for 10 concessions, went to Host International of Bethesda, MD. That package includes Starbucks; Little Havana (local crafts), Miami News Connection (news and gifts), Sweet Factory (bulk candy), Tommy Bahama, Sporting Eyes and Palm One.
The other companies awarded contracts were Navarro at MIA, Miami, for a convenience store; Miami International Airport Pharmacy of Miami, for Bijoux Terner Luxury at $10, which sells items at $10 or more; Air Sun J.V. of Mason, Ohio, for a Sunglass Hut; and the Brookstone Co. of Merrimack, NH.