Some people look at a building and see just a building. Others look at a building and see the opportunity that building offers. Those who know the Stansley brothers soon realize they not only see the opportunities presented to them, they make those opportunities happen.
It is just so with their recent purchase of Toledo Suburban Airport and Suburban Aviation
“I have always loved to fly and have had my pilot’s license since I was 17 years old,” noted Rick Stansley, who with his brothers Jeff and Scott along with Dave Vincente purchased the airport with help from John Healey of Miller Diversified.
“I flew a lot for business and pleasure but the time came when that changed and I didn’t. But then, a few years ago, I ran into Tom and Sue Trumbull who owned the airport and I realized how much I missed flying,” Stansley recalled. “Shortly after I bought a plane and soon after I had two more. I became the second largest tenant at the airport.”
“When the Trumbull’s decided to sell, I reviewed the information they presented to a potential buyer. When that deal fell through they suggested I buy the property, which my partners and I eventually did,” he offered.
“The Trumbull’s ran a good business and created a highly respected name in the flying community. We are very thankful to them for the legacy they created here. We have a great foundation on which to build our business,” he said. Toledo Suburban Airport offers private and public access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 4,800-foot east-west runway accommodates planes of all types and sizes from private jets to small experimental planes.
The Suburban Aviation partners are in the process of renovating the existing clubhouse to accommodate their plans including a large training room for flight school, safety seminars and more. An office has been added and equipped to house a physician who is an AME, or Airman’s Medical Examiner, to provide physical exams for pilots and also be available for emergency medical services. In addition, the new owners intend to create a welcoming ambience for local and visiting pilots. “We want to create a country club like environment and make this a very welcoming place. We are partnering with several local Sylvania businesses and will provide gift cards such as for Chandler Café along with transportation for those who land here,” he explained. “And if people want to spend the night, we send them to the Wingate Hotel,” Stansley pointed out.“We want to encourage pilots to stop here.”
Outside plans include upgrading the infrastructure and adding 10 new hangars to the 60 existing facilities. “We are looking to upgrade the existing facilities and create a kind of ‘man cave’ environment so people will have enhanced experiences while they are here working on their airplanes, or just hanging out,” Stansley said. “Pilots come from a diverse background but flying brings them together,” he added.
According to the partners, their business model includes the airport, fuel, and hangar rental; the flight school run by Marcus Sharp and maintenance with seasoned Cessna certified mechanics Brian Ecklud and Dave O’Mally. “All together, there are 15 people on staff who share a commitment for timeliness, cleanliness, professionalism and efficency with the common goal of providing excellent customer service,” Stanley detailed.
In addition to the physical changes to the airport and clubhouse, the partners are looking to add a list of extra services such as fuel discounts for those who use the maintenance services; seminars for flight school students and more; and trip packages for fun weekend destinations including fuel stops, weather information and destination features.
One major innovation, according to Rick Stansley, is the development of a 141 program with local universities to offer aviation training as part of the curriculum. “Flying is more than just piloting a plane. There is the business management side, sales and marketing along with maintenance and more. This program opens up a wide range of career options, which I would love to see happen. We always need young people to become interested in this business,” he said. Stansley also hopes to create interest in aviation in even younger students at the high school level. “There is unlimited potential,” he pointed out.
Once again, some people just see an airport