Across the street from the rumbling ruckus of Amway Center sits a corner store with a not-so-typical owner. Magic Spot has been the everyday go-to for Orlando’s biggest basketball fans for the last five seasons.
Sam Dubi, who customers call “Sammy,” stands diligently behind the front desk, keeping a close eye on his security cameras. Time is indeed money for this seasoned store owner, who is as no-nonsense as they come. Working in close quarters to Orlando’s most electric arena has its ups and downs, so he always remains vigilant during store hours.
When President Donald Trump delivered his 2020 reelection campaign rally at the Amway Center in late June, Dubi found his store — located on West South Street — completely fenced off from those in attendance. Since his regular potential customers were not allowed a way into his store, Dubi could not move the merchandise he anticipated to move for the event, an issue he would like to bring up to those who organize the events.
“You can get almost too much business one hour and then not much business the rest of the day. It can be frustrating when they block off the street during events because it stops foot traffic to my store as well,” Dubi said. “I don’t think the amount of barricades and inventory they have for these events is needed.”
Dubi, who emigrated from Jerusalem in the 1980s, has operated businesses in Michigan and Missouri, but owning a business in Downtown Orlando the last five years has been a unique experience for him.
“I think Orlando is a melting pot. Some days I’ll have locals entering my store, and, other times, I’ll have people from all over. People who come to the games usually want to explore Downtown, so I get to see them firsthand.”
California, Michigan, Ohio, Canada and Brazil are just a few of the places Dubi’s regular customers are from. Entering the store, it isn’t unusual to hear multiple languages or a tourist asking for directions. Next to Downtown Orlando’s most recognizable structure, Magic Spot mirrors the City Beautiful’s diverse community by being an open door to all who visit — and that’s just the way Dubi likes It.
“It’s interesting to just park your car and see the different cultures that surround you. Orlando is unlike any other place I’ve lived in the United States because of the people that live here,” Dubi said.
Coming into town for an event? Pass through the Magic Spot for a sub, gyro or snack. You’ll be met with a charismatic grin, a firm handshake and a little lesson on what this city is really all about.