By Matt Montgomery
Edmond entrepreneur Jerry Hunter recently purchased Sundance Airport and plans to sink about $3.4 million into the facility. He said he plans on a major overhaul to the airport, located near 122nd and Sara Road.
Hunter isn’t new to running a well-organized and efficient business model. In addition to being the Chief Executive Officer for Sundance, he is also the CEO of U.S. Fleet Tracking.
He said he’s a little embarrassed to show visitors around the 1980s-themed Sundance in its current state, decked out with gaudy décor and pink-painted bathrooms and hallways.
“The carpet is torn and tattered and ratty,” Hunter said. “The place looks like a 1970s gas station.”
But Hunter has a vision to turn the rundown gas station airport into a thriving business hub for pilots and community members alike.
Hunter said he is going to add 80 new hangers to the already 150 the airport has, remodel the terminal building and include an aviation-themed restaurant overlooking the runway.
He said he is looking forward to turning the airport around.
“Prior management wasn’t putting any funding back into the airport,” Hunter said. “It was a revenue machine to him (the former owner) and his passion was long gone.”
He said the former owner, Gary Varnell, bought Sundance out of bankruptcy for $750,000 22 years ago. Hunter said nobody with any financial wherewithal has owned the airport.
And Hunter understands there is a vibrant aviation community at Sundance, citing the 150 hangers at the airport have been at 100 percent occupancy for eight years.
Hunter said he first plans to turn the atmosphere, ambiance and employee-customer relationships around at the airport.
With respect to the airport’s atmosphere, Hunter will build an aviation-themed restaurant where the wait staff will wear 1970s-themed Pan-Am uniforms, the view will overlook the runway and the décor will be comprised of jet engines for tables and ejection seats for chairs. He said he plans to go all-out on the restaurant because he said a good restaurant at an airport makes the airport a destination instead of a pit stop for fuel and hanging planes.
Hunter said area residents can look forward to a newly-renovated and remolded airpor
t with the 80 new hangers, several 2,500 square feet condominium hangers, a first class restaurant, reasonably-priced fuel and many new jobs for the Piedmont-Surrey area by the first part of 2014.