ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) – This week marks the end of an era at Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport.
The owner of the gift shop is calling it a career after more than half a century.
Donna Hill considers herself extremely lucky over those past 52 years.
“It just went so fast that years didn’t matter, it was all the fun I had here,” says Hill.
On January 1, 1970, Jack and Donna Hill, along with two other partners, opened the Airport Gift Shop.
Within five years, the Hills bought out the other partners and were off an running their own shop and raising three children.
“It was fun, I mean from the time you were old enough to see over a counter you were learning how to run a register,” recalls Lori Hill, Donna’s daughter.
Over the years, Donna met a lot of celebrities, including Bob Hope, Jeff Foxworthy and Green Bay native Tony Shalhoub.
But her celebrity list is quite long.
“People used to say, you must meet a lot of celebrities and I would say yes, everybody that walked through the door,” says Donna.
“She loved the people, mom is a social butterfly and she truly enjoyed helping people,” adds Lori.
And thanks to Titletown’s famous team, the shop’s hottest sellers, for the most part, involved green and gold.
“Oh they’re everything to Green Bay, Packers memorabilia, some Wisconsin Badgers, cheeseheads,” says Donna laughing.
Donna’s decision to retire came after her husband Jack passed away last year.
Her last day open is Thursday, and a massive closeout sale is underway.
Donna says she’ll turn out the lights feeling at peace and grateful.
“Yeah it was a good marriage, a good partnership, life’s been good, Jack would say, we had a good run,” says Donna with a smile.
“Dad has a huge part of this business and without him things just aren’t the same, she deserves it, I mean after 52 years, not many people can say that nowadays, staying in one place,” adds Lori.
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