Behind the Counter: Wendall Jacobsen, Beach Bazaar
How long has the Beach Bazaar been in business?
Since 1984. Mike and Susan Balas started it after working many years for someone in a seasonal business in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Long Beach Island, N.J. They looked two years up and down the Atlantic coast. Coming home discouraged, they went to the beach—Siesta, of course—and decided to try it in their own back yard. I have been with them since 1991.
You're a souvenir, surf and swim gear store. How have shoppers' tastes changed over the years?
Very little has changed in the tourist industry. The basic souvenirs, T-shirts, etc., remain popular.
How is running a store near the beach different from running a store in a mall or on Main Street?
Our customers rarely have a wallet with them, so we get a lot of wet and sandy money. Sand is a permanent feature in the store even though we vacuum daily.
What's your busiest season?
Spring break, with summer not too far behind.
Was last year record-breaking because of Dr. Beach's ranking of Siesta Beach?
It was crazy and awesome.
What's the hottest item this season?
In the novelty room, it would be the newest beach games such as Waboba (a ball that bounces on water); in the Surf Room, Sanuk Sidewalk Surfer sandals; T-shirt room, Life is Good Shirts; Swim Room, the latest swim fashion.
How many flip-flops do you sell every year?
What are the challenges to working in the Village?
Getting to work on time during season.
Do you ever get tired of tourists?
Not really. We know there is an end to the crazy season, and fall gives us a chance to catch our breath and start again.