Beach Merchants Pledge Support for Spring Breakers Stepping out on a limb, Pensacola Beach merchants this week vowed to sell merchandise to Spring Break visitors on Pensacola Beach, no matter what the political cost.
"We recognize this decision will be controversial," says T-shirt merchant and Chamber of Commerce chairman Jasper Gundlefinger. "Selling things to vacationing college students is not popular with everyone. But more is at stake here than mere principle. There comes a time when beach businesses have to summon their courage and take a stand on the issues."
Gundlefinger said beach business owners unanimously agreed to sell anything and everything they can during Spring Break, regardless of the potential fallout.
"If anyone doesn't like it, they can go fly a kite ($10.95),"he said defiantly. "Let them cry in their beer ($3.50 per pitcher) for all we care."
The Chamber leader acknowledged that beach businesses in the past have been reluctant to speak out on issues of public importance -- issues like over development of the island, road widening, building height limits, bridge toll hikes, excessive public drownings, sewer spills, disappearing sea turtles, polluted water, municipal incorporation, illegal glass containers, MSBU fees, rising county bond debt, illegal leasehold taxation, inadequate charter school funding, unequal business fee assessments, subcontracts to operate the fishing pier, failed toll bridge technology, and beach nourishment.
"I guess those things are kinda important, too" Gundlefinger says, "but they don't hold a candle (two for $7) to the controversial Spring Break issue. Should we profit off college students or not? Now, there's an issue that cuts to the heart of what island life is all about."
"It's time we gave something back to the island," the Chamber leader adds. "So, do you want to buy a T-shirt? Only $5. Or, you can have two for $11." http://www.pbrla.com/APRIL03/040103a.html