Stellar Story

Founding and Early Years

Stellar Partners, Inc. started nearly 30 years ago. Susan Stackhouse used her life savings and the support of a group of investors to purchase the single duty free store that she was previously managing at Tampa International Airport. Susan had the foresight to see the opportunities that the airport environment had for retail growth and her investors believed in her vision. After operating her first duty free store for several years, she won a contract to open a news and gift store at Orlando International Airport. Building momentum in the airport retail industry, Susan developed Stellar’s proprietary children’s store, Mindworks. In the years following, Susan bought out the initial investment group. She steadily and tenaciously pursued concession opportunities throughout the United States. Susan laid the foundation for a company that is responsive to the needs of its stakeholders and is financially responsible and strong. That is the Stellar advantage.


Stellar is a leading airport retailer, with an extensive portfolio of retail concepts. We operate over 100 stores spanning the country in 21 major U.S. airports. We take pride in being a recognized leader in the airport concessions industry. Stellar has been recognized by our industry and our peers, with numerous awards, including Best Overall Retailer in our category (ARN, 2016) and the Inclusive Leader Catalyst Award (AMAC, 2018).

Stellar is led by a highly experienced management team who is committed to putting our customers first. Steady growth and success are the results of our unique corporate culture and progressive business philosophy. In 2016 Stellar’s this immense success led to an exciting and mutually-beneficial acquisition by HMSHost. Stellar will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary, while being a part of the HMSHost family. This allows the established legacy of the Stellar brand to continue. Stellar is an outstanding component of any retail program, as evidenced by our national presence. We are driven by a passion for innovation, beautifully designed stores and providing an exceptional shopping experience for travelers. We look forward to bringing the Stellar experience to many more airports and shoppers.

Throughout the recession, Stellar was profitable, maintained strong liquidity and a very strong financial condition.

- William O. West, President - The Bank of Tampa