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Mermaid will stay open into 2019

November 29, 2018
By JESSE MEADOWS ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

In a surprise twist last week, the Mermaid will not be shutting its doors just yet.

Though the goodbye party was had, the farewell t-shirts printed, and the "end of an era" article written, the owners have decided they're not ready to go.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have an opportunity to stick around for another year," said Valerie van Selow.

Delays on the TPI project have given the bar time for a reprieve.

Tom Torgerson has estimated that construction will not begin until the end of 2019, due to their current legal disputes.

Van Selow said she wasn't aware they could continue operations, and when it became apparent that the option was on the table, she had to make a quick decision.

"It was a shock to me," she said.

They were working every day not knowing when they would have to close, she explained, which meant putting band-aids on problems to keep things running.

"The only thing that we are going to do is close for one day, just to do some cosmetic stuff on the inside. Other than that, it's going to be pretty much business as usual," she said.

"We were right there, 14 days to closing!" she said. "I have to get it all stocked back up, put all the pictures back up on the wall. It's not easy, its going to take some work, but I'm up for the challenge."

She decided to stay on as manager because the thought of watching someone else run her family's business for the next year was unbearable.

The other reason, of course, was her customers.

"People got married there, we did memorials there, we threw great parties there," she said. "So it was really emotional for a lot of people when we were going to close."



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