ASHWAUBENON – For the primary time — certainly, the one time — Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport can have a brand new present store.
The Hill household, which operated the present store on the airport for 52 years, is closing their website on the finish of Might, and Tailwind Concessions, a nationwide concessionaire that focuses on regional airports, will take over.
Jack Hill, who with two buddies started working the present store in 1970, died in February 2021. He purchased out his buddies after faculty and put three youngsters by faculty working the operation.
“He beloved it. He was like a child in a sweet retailer,” daughter Lori Hill stated. “Mother is able to retire. I feel after 52 years, not many individuals can say they’ve been on the similar place.”
The Packer Gear and Cheese present store’s lease expires on Might 31, so it appeared like the suitable time to make the change, Hill stated.
Tailwind will construct new retail areas in every concourse instantly, and take over and renovate the principle foyer present store in June, stated Airport Director Marty Piette. He’s excited in regards to the retailers on the concourses, which shall be contained in the airport safety zone.
“It would present extra comfort for passengers,” he stated.
The Hills will proceed to function The Present Store at Appleton International Airport.
“We’ve undoubtedly seen a rise within the Appleton location. Allegiant airways have introduced on an excessive amount of flights. They’ve 5 to 6 flights a day and they’re almost full flights,” Hill stated.
Lori Hill left a longtime job to return to the household enterprise. She labored within the store as a child and nonetheless returned to work Packers weekends, however had not been accountable for day-to-day operations.
The store carries a wide selection of Packers, Badgers and Brewers merchandise. With the demise of Shopko and the closing of The Jersey Retailer in Ashwaubenon, the airport present store remained one of many few locations to seek out Packers gear outdoors of the Packers Professional Store.
“Dad had constructed nice connections so far as suppliers of Packers and Badgers gear. That’s what makes us distinctive,” she stated.
The present store has a web site, packergearandcheese.com, which Hill needs to enhance.
“It’s a objective of mine to get this web site to have extra choices,” she stated.
The Austin Straubel store has six part-time staff, all retired ladies. A few them will work in Appleton.
“Most of my staff in Appleton are newer. Those in Inexperienced Bay have been with us a few years and caught with us. For 5 months, dad needed to shut the enterprise down due to no touring in the course of the pandemic. They have been all prepared to return again,” Hill stated.
The variety of folks flying within the not-quite-post-pandemic months is nearly as good as or higher than 2019, Piette stated.
“This yr was higher due to the Packers video games,” he stated. “A number of it’s leisure-driven.”
The Packers didn’t permit followers in the course of the 2020 season due to the pandemic. The staff performed to full stadiums in 2021.