In honor of Labor Day, The Weekly Newspapers wanted to salute you, the hard-working people of the Florida Keys. (Get it, Laborers for Labor Day?) Anyway, one question we asked our subjects this week was about their plans for the coming holiday weekend. As the last hoorah for tourism dollars hits the island chain this weekend, most of our respondents shared the same answer: “Working, of course!”
Fabiana Domiano originally went to dental school before pursuing her passion as a gemologist. Her father was a dentist, and she was a little girl, she watched with great fascination as he tinkered with tiny diamonds and stones as part of his cosmetic dentistry business. A Jewelry and Diamonds graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, Fabiana has been at Blue Marlin Jewelry in Islamorada since 2001. She loves the flexible scheduling but admitted she wished she had more time to design her own jewelry. One of her favorite designers is Denny Wong, and she loves modeling one of his many incredible pearl necklaces.
Barbara Kelly has been friends with Rain Barrel Sculpture Gallery owners Dwayne and Cindy King for more than 20 years. It was when they were taking a sculpting class together that Barbara realized her friends had an incredible artistic talent. Their commissioned bronzed sculptures of whales and stingrays can take as much as eight months from conception to completion. As the manager of the outfit, Barbara said she loves being surrounded by beautiful works and wonderful artists. “I just wish I had spare time to take more classes,” she admitted. As a hobby, she sculpts tiny ornamental birdhouses that she sells in the gallery in Islamorada.
Brandy Ethridge fell in love with plants and landscaping after she stepped out from behind a keyboard back in the mid 80s. She tried to make it in the music business, but decided working outside and “being close to the earth” was a better fit. What’s one thing she would change about her job? “The temperature,” she quickly asserted. “Our weather and our climate are a lot different than it used to be down here.” On days when she’s not trimming bromeliads and helping out around the nursery at Gerry Droney Landscaping on Plantation Key, she plays a swashbuckling pirate with frequent local gigs.
Dina Doyle has been co-owner of Dogs en Vogue Salon in Marathon for nine years, but she’s been grooming dogs for longer than she can remember. “I loved dogs from a very young age,” she explains, adding that she “did horrible things to her neighbors’ dogs, but it was ok because they loved us.” Besides her love for her four-legged clients, one of the things she loves most about her job is seeing their two-legged owners happy. She’ll even be working on Labor Day as a convenience for her customers. “Now, people won’t have to rush to bring their dogs in before work. They can sleep until 10 and then bring them in for a day of pampering.”
Convenience Store Clerk
Hendry Budi came from Indonesia to South Florida to help his family operate a string of convenience stores. Nine years ago, he made his way down to Marathon where he happily greets all his customers every day at the Citgo in Marathon. He’s clearly an outgoing kind of guy, so he loves all the people he chats with each day. What’s his least favorite part of the job? “Working with the government!” he laughed. As a courtesy to customers, Hendry reduces his fuel cost each Monday, so stop in for a fill-up this Labor Day.
John Crawford moved to the Florida Keys with his wife five years ago, and he’s been working as a mechanic at Bill’s Custom Automotive in Islamorada ever since. This Georgia native has been “turning wrenches all his life.” John said he loves the freedom of his job, but admits he’s probably underpaid for the quality of work he offers. “It’s ok though, because our customers always leave satisfied.” He’s trying to convince his employer to remain open through the weekend so he can take next Tuesday and Wednesday off to go play at Busch Gardens where his wife currently works as a marine mammal researcher.
Mary Ann Martin
Assistant Branch Manager
Mary Ann Martin was recently promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at Keys Federal Credit Union in Marathon. After working as a teller in Big Pine before she moved to the Marathon Shores office, Mary Ann has come to love just about every aspect of her job. “I love all the people I get to meet and interact with each day,” she explained. What is the one thing she might change about her job? “Maybe a four-day work week,” she chuckled. This Labor Day weekend, she’ll be hosting her stepson and his new fiancé along with some of their friends. “Hopefully, we’ll get out on the boat. But there will be a lot of good times and a lot of great food!”
Customer Accounts Representative
Sharon Claude is one of the many friendly, happy faces at the Florida Keys Electric Co-Op office in Marathon. Nine years ago, she took a job in the mailroom in the Tavernier office and worked her way up to her current position. What’s one of her favorite aspects of her job? “I just love working with people,” she said. And, if she could change one thing about her job, what would that be? “Well, I don’t think I’d change a thing,” she laughed. Sharon will also be hosting out of town guests this Labor Day weekend.
Betty Langdon, Lisa Murphy & Melissa Langlois
Ladies of the Wooden Spoon
Lisa (center) has been at The Spoon for the past 21 years, and she loves seeing all her seasonal customers return year after year. Melissa (right) says the hours perfectly suit her because she’s able to be at home every night to cook dinner for her son. Betty (left) celebrated a year of ownership in July after relocating from Long Island where she owned a deli and catering company. At least two of this threesome will be slaving away Monday at The Wooden Spoon in Marathon, so drop in for breakfast to keep them company before you head out on the water.
Kyle Franz & DeLisa Jones
Kyle Franz has only been working at Sundance Watersports at Hawks Cay on Duck Key for less than a month, and he’s already earned the title ‘staff maniac’. “Are you kidding me? This is a rad place to work,” he exclaimed. “Who wouldn’t want to ride jet skis and hang out on the water all day?” He’s under the close, watchful eye of ‘head wench in charge’ DeLisa Jones who tries to keep Kyle and his co-workers in line. If there was one thing he could change about his job, Kyle said he only asks that DeLisa come up with some extra large work shirts. And, what will he be doing on Monday? “Working, hard, of course, and trying to pull in some big tips!”