Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Students support airport one scoop at a time.

By Andrew Scalf May 17, 2024

The Marion Municipal Airport has a new ice cream shop thanks to Grant Regional Career Center’s aviation class.  

“We got people in the door here to see what type of facility we have. And to see how nice of an airport we have for the community,” airport manager Andy Darlington said.

Mark Johnson, the GRCC aviation instructor, and his students developed the idea of Sky High Scoops early in the school year.

“They’re all seniors, and they picked a project to try to find something that would benefit the community and benefit the airport,” Johnson said.

Johnson said students have had to learn perspectives at a business level and airport level.

“I was not too sure on how we’d be even be able to get done in one year,” senior Ollie Turner said, “but I was surprised and glad that we were able to get it done in just over a semester.”

Part of the project was to set up the business for the airport to run independently of the class. Sky High Scoops is located in Marion Airport’s terminal building.

“It’s a partnership with the airport and the ice cream shop once we turned it over, you know, but the students still get involved in it,” Johnson said.

The store opened on April 8, during the solar eclipse, and attracted over 100 people to the airport. GRCC’s aviation class helps run the store by scooping ice cream and handling money. 

Nevera Tropical, run by Oak Hill senior Stephanie Treto, supplies the ice cream.  

“(My classmates) let me know about it. They were like we’d want a partnership and put a small ice cream shop in the airport. And I thought it was a really cool idea,” Treto said. 

Treto said she hopes to expand her business, both through Sky High Scoops and Nevera Tropical.

Through the partnership, Sky High Scoops serves Mexican ice cream featuring flavors such as horchata while still serving traditional flavors. 

“I think it’d be cool to add another freezer and four more ice creams at least,” Treto said.

Another collaboration happened with the design class at GRCC, which created the business’s logo.

“(Students) had to communicate … to collaborate together, which is always good, and it gave them a realistic project, rather than just to create a widget or a fake project,” Mark Hobbs, the student community specialist at GRCC, said.

Hobbs said the Marion Airport’s annual Fly/In Cruise/In will bring in several hundred people, boosting business for Sky High Scoops. 

The 33rd annual Fly/In Cruise/In will be held August 31. 

“If you look at small, municipal airports, most have nothing,” Hobbs said.

Sky High Scoops is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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