By Caitlin Dineen
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Calling all women in small business in Central Florida!!!! The Orlando airport is placing retail kiosks inside the airport for budding entreprenurs to show off their wares. For women in business who need an affordable way to increase sales and market their products this could be a great solution.
Nearly a dozen Central Florida artists and small-business owners will get to show off their products and services to millions of travelers at the Orlando International Airport.
Airport board members on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure that will convert 14 retail kiosks into spaces for some of the region’s budding entrepreneurs.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our local art community, obviously, with the number of visitors we have,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who serves on the aviation board.
Last year, 38.8 million people came through the airport.
Changes will not be made until after March, when an agreement with Westfield Concession Management II expires. Westfield currently operates the carts, which sell such items as gifts, news items and other specialty retail.
Those kiosks currently generate about $250,000 annually for the airport. The updated retail offerings are expected to bring in the same amount.
Phil Brown, executive director of the airport, said the airport’s concession staff will take over managing the stands. Small businesses and artisans can sign a lease for up to a year with the option for a one-year renewal. That means if the program is successful, the kiosks will be revamped, at a minimum, every two years.
The cost to rent a kiosk at OIA has not been finalized. Airport staff will be able to individually negotiate fees, whether monthly or as a percentage of sales, with a potential business owner. The board could consider waiving rent if the artisan’s art or craft has “sufficient value to provide customer service to the traveling public …”
The change seeks to “highlight the vibrancy of Orlando’s economy and culture while providing a source of entertainment and enjoyment for the traveling public,” according to the agenda. Brown said airport staff came up with the idea.
Brown said the new format could help startup businesses, “because the overhead’s relatively minimal; it’s a kiosk.”
The kiosks would be similar to what is offered at Artegon Marketplace, a retail destination on International Drive. In that space, the old Festival Bay Mall, artists operate individual storefronts inside the larger facility. They are small business owners without all the costs associated with owning or renting a traditional brick-and-mortar site.
Similar co-op locations include East End Market in Orlando and Plant Street Market in Winter Garden.
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Orlando isn’t the only airport in Florida finding space for local brands and businesses. In 2012, the Miami International Airport created the North Terminal Marketplace Concessions Program, which showcases local businesses from categories “based on analysis of historic customer preferences at Miami International Airport,” according to an airport spokeswoman.
Concession categories in Miami include cigars and four types of food: Mediterranean, pizza, empanadas and crabs.
The possibility of giving local artists a space to sell their products at minimal cost is crucial for the success of the region’s art community, said Jacobs.
“When we look at our art community, one of the things we struggle with is do they have the financial strength they need,” she said. “And, of course, this is a small part of this.”