The city of Marathon was in grave danger of losing an important cultural institution before corporate America realized the power of community action.
A couple weeks ago, Brass Monkey proprietor Judy Sorenson received a notice from her landlord, Winn Dixie that gave her 30 days to vacate the space she and her family rented for the past 30 years.
Word spread through Marathon like ice melting in a rum and coke, and by Monday evening, more than 100 concerned residents piled in the Fire Station for a Town Hall meeting with Mayor Ginger Snead. As Marathon Cinema manager Bob Coffey collected Winn Dixie Shopping cards, talk centered on boycotting the plaza.
“I have been holding these meeting since I was elected nearly two years ago,” said Snead. “And even $5,000 sewer bills did not muster this kind of community support.”
Since 1979, the Brass Monkey has been a Marathon icon – not only for the tourists looking for some late night fun, but because the Sorensons are constant benefactors of any and all kinds of community organizations and events.
“It has been my life since I was 16 years old,” Sorenson said. “It was scary.”
At the Winn Dixie corporate headquarters in Jacksonville, Fl, top officers began to notice the outpouring of support for the Brass Monkey stretched well beyond a local boycott. On the Monkey’s Facebook page, fans from around the world chided in with words of encouragement.
The suits in Jacksonville took notice and the grocer’s attorney, in an unofficial statement, told The Weekly that the CEO ordered him to jump on a plane and come to Marathon to settle the trouble.
A meeting was held at Sorenson’s attorney’s office on Wednesday night. The Monkey has another year added to the lease and Sorenson said a long-term deal would be worked out in 120 days that would ensure the Monkey’s place in Marathon for years to come.
“They (Winn Dixie) said the Monkey would be included in any future plans,” Sorenson said.
On Thursday morning, the Winn-Dixie officials met again with Sorenson; this time at the Marathon City Hall with Mayor Ginger Snead and City Manager Roger Hernstadt and what was originally planned as a picket has turned into a picnic. This Sunday, Winn-Dixie will be giving away hot dogs and hamburgers to all those “Monkey folks.”
“I think it is pretty awesome,” said Mayor Snead. “They heard us and they listened which shows they are a great corporation because they responded immediately. It just goes to show that this community will come together when one of their own is put upon.
In the end, it was a win-win for both sides.”
The tradition continues…