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Islip changes how businesses at Long Island MacArthur pay the town

Bryan DeLuca stands in front of his shop,

Bryan DeLuca stands in front of his shop, "East End Getaway," inside of Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, Aug. 17, 2015. DeLuca's shop will be receiving a rent decrease inside of the airport. Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

Islip Town officials are setting a new standard for how businesses operating at Long Island MacArthur Airport share their revenue with the town.

The restaurant and retail businesses, as well as the rental car agencies and other businesses operating at the town-owned airport in Ronkonkoma, such as JVC Broadcasting, have agreements to share a percentage of their revenue with the town.

Now the town board has voted unanimously to amend the contract for East End Getaway, a gift shop that opened in 2013 and sells New York-made products inside the terminal next to baggage claim. East End Getaway will no longer pay rent plus a percentage of its gross and instead will pay the town a "gross revenue minimum percentage fee," according to the resolution passed by the board Aug. 4.

The change comes as town officials continue to look for ways to increase business and revenue at the airport. Airport officials have long sought more traffic and new airlines for the airport, which saw departures drop 5.8 percent from 2012 to 2013. In addition, two airlines, PenAir and Allegiant Air, left the facility in 2014. The airport lost nearly $4.2 million from 2010 to 2012.

Airport Commissioner Robert Schaefer said a new perfume store and additional restaurants are coming to the airport, including a replacement for a shuttered seafood restaurant -- a Long Island-themed deli that will sell grab-and-go meals.

"I just asked for an adjustment," said Bryan DeLuca, the president of the East End Tourism Alliance, which runs the East End Getaway store. "We want to stay there, but the traffic needs to improve in order for us to continue to be there."

The East End Getaway rent was about $400 a month plus 1.5 percent of gross, according to Schaefer. It will no longer pay the rent and only pay the town an undisclosed revenue percentage, he said.

Schaefer said the change aimed to bring the gift shop into the same kind of revenue-sharing structure that the other businesses at the airport have with the town.

"Instead of having a rent for one store and a percentage of the gross for the others, we're going to do a percentage of gross only," he said. "Then it's all conforming."

Schaefer declined to say how the revenue percentage is calculated for each business at the airport. "It's not a general single contract. It's confidential," he said.

Airport and Islip officials did not respond to requests for information about the amount of total revenue that airport businesses pay the town as part of their revenue percentage contracts.

The East End Getaway store has about three more years on its lease with the town, and DeLuca pledged to maintain its presence as a reminder of the tourism opportunities on Long Island.

"We want the public to see it and, on top of it, we don't want airlines to see a vacant retail space in the airport," DeLuca said.

"We all strongly believe the airport will help tourism and that's part of our effort to build tourism on Long Island," DeLuca added. "The airport is an integral part."


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