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LOWER TOWNSHIP — There are more than planes at the Cape May County Airport on Breakwater Road. It’s also home to a local business community.
Those business owners want local officials and residents to take notice, and are hosting a “Winter Warm Up” open house 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 at the airport.
“I’m always surprised at how few people even know that there are businesses inside the airport complex,” said Carl Suit, owner of House of Print, which has operated inside the county airport since 2011. “But once they find us they are always impressed.”
Suit said there is a lot of talk about how the airport is underutilized and he’d like to motivate more people to take notice of a growing business community, which includes the county’s first brewery, a coffee company, museums, auto repair, a diner, a flight school, and a graphic design firm.
“The airport is definitely a unique place to operate a business and for House of Print it has allowed us great opportunities,” said Suit, who said that his business was founded on the spirit of working cooperatively with other artists and businesses. “But we could accomplish so much, more with greater interaction with the residents and local government.”
The Winter Warm Up open house is one way the businesses hope to get noticed.
“While the winter season is usually a slower time for local businesses, we are taking this opportunity to show that the airport is a thriving business destination even in the colder months,” said Suit. “While we may be off the beaten track, our stores and offices overflow with both holiday and entrepreneurial spirit.”
That evening, participating airport businesses will be open until 8 p.m. by offering demonstrations, refreshments, information and special offers to those that stop by.
Participants can stop by House of Print to pick up an airport passport that can be used to collect stickers from participating businesses during the open house. Collect all the stickers and use the passport for a discount at the Cape May Brewing Company during the event.
Suit said that the Winter Warm Up is just the beginning of plans to bolster interest in the businesses at the airport. Along with weekend studio tours and demonstrations, Suit also plans to host local artists in a pop up gallery starting in 2014.
Along with their holiday spirit, Suit said he hopes visitors bring their suggestions on how to build the business community at the airport complex.
During the event, House of Print will offer tours and refreshments inside their graphic design firm and print studio. Suit said he will be holding free screen printing demonstrations where visitors can get a hands-on lesson and leave with apparel they printed themselves.
Cape May Brewing Company will offer a discounted beer tastings to visitors with a passport full of stickers of participating businesses. The brewery is also holding a Growlers for Grub food drive where visitors can donate at least two items of non-perishable food items and get 64-ounce growler refills for $8. The food collection benefits the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
George’s Auto service technicians will be on hand to provide free winter diagnostics for vehicles, including battery and antifreeze testing, fluid level and tire pressure checks.
Flight Level Aviation will be open and answer questions about aviation services.
Santa Claus will be making an appearance, thanks to the Kiwanis Club of Cape May. Santa will be stopping by each business from 4 until 6 p.m.
The airport is also home to the Forgotten Warriors Vietnam Museum, the Naval Air Station Wildwood aviation museum in a historic hanger, and the Flight Deck diner. The airport is owned by Cape May County, and operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, one of several airports the authority operates in New Jersey and Delaware.