Tampa Bay’s new address: Upscale USA

Wealthy residents in [tag]Tampa[/tag] are demanding more luxury goods, from cars and couture to mansions and makeovers.

Tampa has [tag]Neiman Marcus[/tag] and [tag]Nordstrom[/tag] as anchors [tag]at International Plaza[/tag], as well as lots of other upscale stores. Neiman and rival Saks Fifth Avenue opened the [tag]Tampa Bay[/tag] market’s first [tag]Chanel[/tag] boutiques this summer. Fashion designers [tag]Louis Vuitton[/tag], [tag]Gucci[/tag] and [tag]Ferragamo[/tag] have Tampa stores and there’s no need to go elsewhere to shop for jewelry at [tag]Tiffany & Co[/tag].

Who are the big spenders who drop $10,000 on a dress and $350,000 on a car? Many have connections to professional sports. That starts with those on the payroll of the Devil Rays, Bucs and Lightning, but goes well beyond. The Tampa Bay area is home base for many current and retired professional sports figures and a popular destination for many others who don’t live here. Daunte Culpepper, who plays for the [tag]Miami Dolphins[/tag], bought a [tag]Rolls-Royce[/tag] in Clearwater, Doherty said.

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