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Thinking pink, dealership's mascot stands out

But elephant must come down due to code violation

May 4, 2016
By John Morton ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

If you appreciate the phrase "It's hard to avoid the elephant in the room," you'll agree it's even harder to avoid an elephant on the roof. Especially if it's pink.

At Goben Cars, a new business at the corner of San Carlos Boulevard and Broadway Avenue, that's just what you'll see - at least for a few more days. The plastic beast will have to be removed because it violates the county's codes regarding signage.

"Someone called in and complained," said Pat McCaig, manager of the business that is slated to open June 1. "I assume it was one of the neighbors, but I'm not sure. I'm willing to pay for that information."

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This pink elephant atop the new Goben Cars establishment has to come down because of a code violation.

He said that with a laugh, but adds there's nothing funny about the fact the elephant will be back in his life when it is hauled down by crane and wheeled into the dealership's showroom.

"I had to live with that thing in my house for three months," said McCaig, who inherited it when his boss, Don Goben, got a bit carried away with excitement when he closed on the business in November and bought the unique decoration.

Did it wander over from the JungleGolf putt-putt course across the street?

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"No, he actually bought it, along with a giant plastic bull, off some guy on Pine Ridge who runs an estate and antiques yard," McCaig said. "It was $5,000 for the elephant, $2,000 for the trailer, and then $2,000 for a custom paint job. I thought he was nuts. I told him we're trying to run a car dealership here, not a zoo."

Yet his property - an abandoned appliance store that's been remodeled and the neighboring DeHays Automotive, where they'll repair the cars they sell - really has been a zoo of sorts, McCaig said, considering it is home to as many as 30 stray cats that the neighbors feed on a regular basis.

"That food brings the birds, and we all know what they drop on cars, so this isn't good," he said. "And we had to tear down some arecas the neighbors across the canal planted as a buffer between them and DeHays. We need the room and the flow between properties.

"So I'm not sure the neighbors love us, but that will get better. We have brought a business here and given life to a property that was a gas station about 20 years ago and has changed hands countless times since."

And even the elephant is growing on McCaig.

"Now I understand why he got it - it certainly gets us noticed and gets people talking," McCaig said. "And I'm sure the kids will love and will be taking pictures with it. And I can see us having it in the Fort Myers Beach parades."



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