Forty years ago Microsoft was founded, “Wheel of Fortune” made its debut on NBC, “Jaws” terrorized millions of movie-goers, and Harris Travel Service opened for business in the City of South Miami. Since 1975, Harris Travel has provided service to countless numbers of vacationers, voyagers and business professionals.
“We offer professional service. We think it is best to let professionals do what they do best,” said Andrew Harris, son of Harriet L. Harris, president and founder of the company. Mother and son share the responsibilities of running the business.
Harris Travel provides a full array of services; however the company has shifted its focus in recent years to the leisure/luxury travel market, making it the bulk of their business. They take pride in their personalized service to the customer that includes following up on the traveler’s experiences during his or her trip. They enjoy a repeat business and have provided service to parents, children and grandchildren in the same family.
“We are about 85 percent luxury/leisure and about 15 percent corporate,” said Andrew, a Certified Travel Consultant.
The business was founded by his mother Harriet, who continues to work in the company albeit on a limited schedule. Mrs. Harris started in the travel business in 1965 and later transformed what she considered something of a hobby into a large, successful business. In 1984, Harris Travel moved to its current location at 5884 Sunset Drive in the town center.
Mrs. Harris was married to Marshall Stanton Harris, an attorney, who was a powerful legislator representing Miami-Dade County in the decades of the ‘60s and ‘70s. He served in the Florida House from 1966 to 1974 and was known for his acumen with state budgets. Mr. Harris practiced real property law and later joined his wife at the travel company. He passed away in 2009.
“The trains in the window were my father’s idea,” said Andrew. Marshall Harris started collecting trains before Andrew was born. In 1984, they came to the building and were set up as the “World in One Window.” It certainly attracted a lot of attention. Parents would ask the Harris’ to make the trains run for their children, which they would do from time to time.
Andrew started working at the travel office when he was quite young. Studying faraway places on the map piqued his interest. Now his daughter Katy works with him, too.
“I love it, and I am going to keep doing it,” said Andrew.
Harris Travel Service is affiliated with Virtuoso, a leading luxury network that creates unique travel experiences that cannot be found online or planned by the individual traveler. They are experts at putting together the many moving parts involved in luxury travel.
“People value hiring professionals to plan their trips and ensuring a memorable vacation,” said Andrew.
As for doing business in South Miami, Andrew said, “I don’t think there is any place else in South Florida I’d rather be.”
Harris Travel Service is located at 5884 Sunset Drive and is open Monday through Friday; Saturday by appointment only. For more information, visit at www.harristravelservice.com.