If you’re looking for Peoria memorabilia, the new gift shop at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport (GPRA) has it. The store is in a new, much larger location with lots of local flair. Also, the new store is brighter, more open, and demonstrates the new look of your airport.
Up, Up and Away was recently named by Mrs. Vaughan’s fourth grade class at Elmwood Grade School. The class wrote essays for the store’s new name and then voted on the best name. The winner, Ellie Montoya, came up with the name because her father likes the song by the Fifth Dimension, “Up, Up & Away.” You can visit GPRA to see several essays hanging at the information booth across from the new gift shop on the first floor.
Two other students, Jenna Scotti and Jake Northrup, flipped the switch to light the new sign at the grand opening. Of course, as they unveiled the new name, the song, “Up, Up & Away” was playing. The children also unveiled five flags at the grand opening: the U.S. flag; the Illinois flag; and the flags of our three sister cities in China, Germany, and Ireland.
For easier access, the new gift shop is now located near the front door on the first floor of the airport. Sheila Tenbrook, owner of the gift shop, has done a great job filling it with unique items like the Italian vinaigrette that donates its proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Personal service is my number one priority. We’ll also gift wrap and deliver (or mail) almost anything,” Tenbrook said.
There are the usual “Peoria” items, such as hats and t-shirts, but some of the more unique Peoria merchandise includes books by Peoria authors; Peoria aficionado Jerry Klein; and Mike Rucker, a retired CAT employee who authors the “Terry the Tractor” books. “I try to buy things (for the shop) that people can smile, remember, and say, ‘I bought this in Peoria.’” Sheila knows what Peoria travelers and visitors want. She’s owned the gift shop for 18 years. With easier access and better visibility, it’s now a more visible and customer-friendly area of the airport.
So if you’re looking for something special for yourself or to send to someone who misses Peoria, look no further than the new gift shop—Up, Up & Away. IBI