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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 2 years ago

The box opens up

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Inside the Box Cafe and Catering is expanding in Tampa International Airport, part of the push by the transportation hub to add local restaurants and other offerings to its mix for travelers.

Inside the Box Cafe and Catering is expanding in Tampa International Airport, part of the push by the transportation hub to add local restaurants and other offerings to its mix for travelers.

An affiliate of The Metropolitan Ministries, Inside the Box is opening in the airport's Airside A terminal, which contains carriers JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Alaska Airlines, United Silver Airways and Sun County Airlines. The move comes in the wake of Inside the Box's successful debut in the airport's Airside C terminal, currently devoted to Southwest Airlines' flights.

A partnership between Metropolitan Ministries and Stellar Partners Inc., Inside the Box, now operates in Florida's three largest airports — in Miami, Orlando and Tampa. In all, Inside the Box has retail locations in 10 U.S. airports and a pair of stand-alone cafes in downtown Tampa and the city's Westshore business district.

“By selling Inside the Box grab-and-go foods at TPA, we're providing a high-quality product to our customers while also benefiting a wonderful Tampa organization that helps so many men, women and families in our community,” says airport CEO Joe Lopano in a statement.

Inside the Box's second TPA location comes as the airport is embarking on a $1 billion overhaul and expansion of its concessions aimed at attracting more travelers. The airport currently has more than 19 million travelers annually and is ranked among the world's best airports. Beginning next year, flights from TPA will begin new routes to Cuba and Iceland.

“The brand has proven to be a great success with our Stellar News customers,” says Stellar Partners' CEO Susan Stackhouse.

Proceeds from Inside the Box operations directly support programs to curb hunger at Metropolitan Ministries, which has been helping Tampa Bay area homeless and other families since 1972. Participants in the ministries' culinary arts program also gain valuable skills to help with self sufficiency.

“With the additional presence in Airside A, our message of hope and self sufficiency will have an even greater reach to local and global travelers,” says Tim Marks, Metropolitan Ministries' president and CEO.

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