Dear Ace: Most every airport I’ve been to makes you go through security before you can sit at the bar or buy a magazine. How come Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport puts the convenience store before security?—Lee Vin Tomorrow
Dear Lee: Thanks for the great question! That’s what we love: truly inspirational source material. Finally, a chance to flaunt Ace’s observational-comedy genius. To Ace’s knowledge, nobody’s ever made sarcastic observations about airports before. (Cue Jerry Seinfeld—and thousands of “Improv” hacks before him—asking, “What’s the deal with airline food?”)
Not that a lack of original material would thwart Ace’s investigatory impulses. And so, after taking a quick spin in the Acemobile (which, incidentally, is looking more like an Acejalopy these days), Ace screeched into the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, ready to find an answer to your question (and a dirt-cheap fare to Miami. Deadlines be damned—they got e-mail in South Beach, right?)
The first thing Ace observed about our airport is its diminutive size. Not to downplay its ability, but CAA isn’t exactly prime real estate for vendors. Though the 12 people inside might make for a decent pick-up basketball game, this airport can’t possibly hope to support a TGI Fridays or—where are the kids hanging out these days?—Chotchkie’s franchise anytime soon.
With these limitations, it seems unfair to place the airport’s lone convenience store beyond the security gates. Airport Mar-keting Coordinator Terry Dean agreed. She revealed to Ace that before renovations in August 2004, “The Market” was indeed located beyond the security checkpoint on the “sterile side” of the airport. (In the interest of maintaining rapport with at least one source, Ace will refrain from making off-color jokes involving the word “sterile.”)
“We get asked that all the time,” says Dean, in reference to your query, Lee Vin. “We had the same frustrations from people who didn’t have a ticket [i.e. friends and family waiting to pick someone up] but wanted a sandwich or a cup of coffee. Now it’s truly open to everyone.”
So there’s your answer: A small-market airport simply trying to accommodate as many of its patrons as possible. Ace hopes you’ve found this answer most satisfactory. Ace knows that you have other question-and-answer alternatives, and thanks you for selecting “Ask Ace” for all of your inquisitory needs. In addition, Ace sincerely hopes that you will continue to do so in the future. On behalf of Ace, and the entire C-VILLE staff, thanks for your patronage, and enjoy your stay in the bright light of your newfound knowledge.