(Sept. 2, 2015) Longtime Tampa International Airport concessionaire Susan Stackhouse, whose company Stellar Partners opened its first airport retail shops here in Tampa, was recently named 2015 Business Woman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
Stackhouse was named the overall winner after also winning the entrepreneur category. She was one of 50 finalists picked by an independent panel of judges that considered more than 200 nominees.
Stackhouse and Stellar Partners have been a part of TPA’s concessions program for more than 25 years. It is here where she learned the airport retail culture and fit right in with TPA’s commitment to customer service.
“I began my retail career in ‘mall retail’ so one of the biggest surprises about airport retail was that people come to the airport to fly – and shopping is secondary,” Stackhouse said. “That makes great customer service even more important than in traditional retail. At Stellar, we are very fortunate to have a seasoned team that is committed to providing great customer service experiences every day to every customer.”
She now operates 41 airport retail stores in 10 airports from Florida to California. Her current shops at TPA include Mindworks, Ron Jon Surf Shop and Swarovski.
She will also be returning as part of the concessions redevelopment program, bringing a rich mix of local businesses to the Main Terminal and Airsides A, C and F.
“I am excited to introduce to TPA our news/convenience stores known as Stellar Bay,” Stackhouse said. “We will feature in Stellar Bay a number of great local brands that are new to the airport such as Buddy Brew Coffee, Inside the Box Café (by Metropolitan Ministries), Sono Café, Fitlife Foods and gifts from the Columbia Shop.”
Stackhouse told the Business Journal: “I was fortunate to have a great opportunity at the Tampa airport as part of the redevelopment to put together what we think is an outstanding group of local businesses that will be able to participate in this opportunity. It was good for everybody. It helps strengthen our proposal and it gives them exposure on an international stage.”