An iconic mural at the Village Surf Shoppe in Garden City Beach is undergoing a facelift that its owner Kelly Richards hopes pays homage to the store’s history while ushering in a new generation of surf on the south strand.
The mural painted about 20 years ago by Buddy Locklear has chipped and faded over the years, and in most places is beyond being repaired with touchups, Richards said. Two pieces of the shop’s history will remain, he said.
The painting of Eric “Big E” Eason and Richards’ VW van driving into a sunset are in good condition and will not be painted over.
The rest of the mural already is covered and being painted. With help from Mother Nature, Richards said it should be complete this weekend.
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Brightening the exterior of the building on Atlantic Avenue is a continuation of some remodeling that was done last year on the building’s interior. Atlantic Avenue leads drivers straight to the Garden City Pier.
“We did the inside last year and it looks real nice,” Richards said. “But a lot of people thought it looked like it was the local bar or something. We just heard time after time, ‘Man, we drove past here, we’ve lived right down the road for five years and we were just a bit afraid to come in.’”
Fans of the shop who commented about the changes on Facebook offered mixed reactions Some said they wished the mural could stay as it was, while others said they understood the business decision.
Richards said the painting, which started at the end of May, already has increased traffic to the store.
“When its redone, we’ll have new lightboxes with surfing pictures of my son Cam and other team surfers like Micha Cantor and Luke Gordo,” he said. “It’ll be the same thing, but for the new generation.”
Those wanting to hang on to a piece of the shop’s history will find it in the form of a t-shirt. Richards said the mural will be printed on t-shirts and sold at the shop soon, though a specific date was not available.