Mermaids and Webb's Wonderful World of Retail
At one time, Doc Webb's store in Florida had 1,400 employees. The retail mega-mall miracle had miles of merchandise and at least a few mermaids. Way ahead of his time, Doc opened the store in 1925 and it spread like kudzu. By 1951 it was bigger than a Wal-mart, but he had tricks they haven't even thought of. He would sell dollar bills for 95 cents and serve breakfast for 2 cents to attract customers. The shop grew to 85,000 square feet. The soda fountain was so long it had 60 employees. He sold 16,000 packs of cigs a day and 60,000 rolls of film a year. He invented the express check-out line (ten items or less) and eventually had 70 different stores on the lot. Doc even supported African-American civil rights before most of his neighbors and fought against high taxes...but all things must end and Webb's went belly-up like a dead mermaid in 1979.
Webb's Talking Mermaid Show Postcard, circa 1940. Note on reverse: "Hi Bud. Saw the mermaids today at Webb's City. They really talk" Collection Jim Linderman