A quarter million Jeffersons

A quarter million Jeffersons

Gary Graves and his office staff at Keys Fisheries, including Liz Prieto, prepared to do payroll this week with $2 bills and brown paper bags.

Fish house staff to be paid in $2 bills

Gary Graves looked like Santa Clause unloading his loot this week just prior to payday at Keys Fisheries.

But his latest idea, he insists, is not about him or his business – it’s about reminding local merchants of one industry’s buying power.

“Commercial fishing is forgotten about for a lot of people new to the community, especially tourists,” Graves explained of his latest scheme. “It used to be the number one industry in Monroe County until the 80s when tourism took over.”

Though he sought help from local banks to collect nearly $300,000 in $2 bills to pay his staff of well over 100 this week, Graves was forced to the mainland and the resources of City National Bank in Miami to collect the tender.

“The intent is that the $2 bills should start showing up in auto parts stores, the grocery stores, restaurants and all the local businesses,” he continued. “People don’t realize how vital the industry still is to the local economy.”

Though the fishermen, captains, mates and staff in the fish house and restaurant often work long hours and aren’t always in “the mainstream” Graves added, noting that for many, their days begin at 5 am, the industry and the people it employs still have a tremendous buying power.

“We’re floating a quarter million through the community,” he concluded. “I hope there’ll be $2 bills floating around for a long time.”


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