Bob Bestler

Jimmy Buffett’s countless ventures now include a retirement spot for the Parrotheads

Jimmy Buffett performs on NBC’s “Today” show in New York in 2016.
Jimmy Buffett performs on NBC’s “Today” show in New York in 2016. AP

I wouldn’t call myself a true Parrothead – heck, I don’t even own a swell “Got Salt?” T-shirt – but I’m still a huge fan of Jimmy Buffett.

On one Jimmy Buffett album, “Feeding Frenzy,” recorded during a live 1990 concert, he has a song called, “You’ll Never Work in Dis Bidness Again.”

It’s a kind of in-your-face ode to the critical reviews his island-accented music received early in his career.

Well, for someone who would “never work in dis bidness again,: Jimmy Buffett has done pretty, pretty, pretty well.

As best as I can tell he has recorded at least 45 albums and written 14 books, including children’s books.

He has witten more than 120 songs, by my best count, and one of them, “Margaritaville,” has become the one-word anthem for his far-flung business enterprises.

His Margaritaville restaurant and resort empire started in Key West, Fla., in 1977. Today it stretches from the Navy Pier in Chicago to Universal City, Calif., to the Flamingo Mall in Cancun, Mexico, with a few dozen stops along the way.

Three Myrtle Beach restaurants draw a small ocean of Parrothead wanabees – Margaritaville at Broadway at the Beach, Landshark Bar & Grille at the Skywheel and Cheeseburgers in Paradise on King’s Highway.

I liked the handle The New York Times gave Buffett – “The patron saint of the untroubled” – as it explained his well-documented business acumen.

His Margaritaville Holdings company has had sales exceeding $1.5 billion for Margaritaville products ranging from blenders to salt shakers to $799 hammocks – and of course a few million T-shirts paying homage to his laid-back island lyrics

Jimmy Buffett led the way for other entertainers to parley their persona into business success, notably Dolly Parton with her Dollywood theme park and Dixie Stampede franchise.

Now, as Buffett turns 70, he is heading into a new phase as he continues to cater to his aging Baby Boomer base.

Yes, pretty soon we can all start wasting away in Latitude Margaritaville, a retirement village for adults aged 55 and over.

The first Latitude is going up in Daytona Beach, Fla., a $1 billion project that will have about 7,000 homes priced from about $200,000 to $350,000 – reasonable enough to lure the nest eggs of most molting Parrotheads.

The village will be built along the Atlantic and will include fitness facilities, lap pools, spas, live entertainment and a shuttle to take folks to the beach – to look for that lost shaker of salt, I’d guess.

It’s not quite the Last Mango in Paris – that could come later – but Latitude Margaritaville should give Parrotheads a chance to spend their final years nibblin’ on a sponge cake, watchin’ the sun bake. And that ain’t bad.

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.

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