Souvenir City celebrated 65 years in business July 1 with a ceremonial ribbon cutting in its iconic shark’s mouth entrance. Owner Clyde Weir and members of the Weir family joined guests including Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft and city council members, Coastal Alabama Business Chamber members, Gulf Shores City Schools cheerleaders and tourists.
The Coastal Alabama Business Chamber presented a proclamation proclaiming July 1 Souvenir City Day. According to chamber records, the store has been continuous members of the chamber for 40 years.
“This is an amazing day. Clyde, thank you for all you have done. Your family has been such a benefit to the community. We appreciate you. Congratulations,” Craft said.
In 1959, Clyde Weir took over the gift shop his mother Josie had opened in her former restaurant location. While on his honeymoon in Miamai Beach, Weir saw a small shop named Souvenir City and was inspired to use the name for his shop where he began selling inexpensive trinkets. In 1979, Weir purchased his mother’s interest in the store and began purchasing the land surrounding the store, ultimately purchasing the whole block.
The iconic shark at the entrance of the store was Weir’s response to competition moving in just south of Souvenir City. Alvin’s Island was a chain of 18 stores at the time. While at the gift show in Gatlinburg, Weir saw a shark at a miniature golf course and was inspired to build a sharks head large enough for guests to walk through.
The shark ultimately grew to 50-feet-long. In 1986, the store burned to the ground, but the concrete shark remained. When the store was rebuilt, the shark grew to 70-feet and to this day, remains one of the biggest photo op spots at the beach.
Original Article: https://gulfcoastmedia.com/stories/souvenir-city-celebrates-65-years-in-business,108491