Effort Afloat to Bring Back the Jantzen Girl

 

Jantzen Girl
The Jantzen Girl hanging at the entrance to Stamie’s Smart Beach Wear

Since 1965 Daytona Beach has served as home to one of only six, twenty foot fiberglass Jantzen Girl statues. The statue/sign was a fixture outside of Stamie’s Smart Beach Wear since arriving from Miami. That all changed recently when the store located along the recently renovated boardwalk area closed with the retirement of second generation owner Irene Koutouzis.

The sign was never owned by the Koutouzis family but rather was still owned by Jantzen who has taken possession of the landmark piece with an apparent goal of rehoming it. The relocation will come with a price.

Despite a complete makeover in 2004 and regular coats of wax, recent hurricanes and the realities of being near the ocean will require over $10,000 worth of work according to building owner Louie Louizes.

Jantzen was formed in 1910 by co-owners John A. Zehntbauer and Carl C. Jantzen and was known as the Portland Knitting Co. By 1913 they were crafting bathing suits for the Portland Rowing Club and in 1918 the company name was changed to Jantzen Knitting Mills.

With business expanding in the 1920s a national marketing gimmick was needed. In stepped artists Frank and Florenz Clark who became inspired by Olympic tryouts for the 1920 women’s dive team. The red clad diving girl was born!

Throughout the years the image has evolved and in 1959 six of the fiberglass sculptures were created by a Los Angeles mannequin company, of which four are known to still be in existence. I am assuming two are in possession of Jantzen after having been in other, now closed, locations. A third is used for promotional displays in various stores selling Jantzen products. The Daytona Beach Jantzen girl, the last to be on display in a regular home, is currently in Washington state where the statue is receiving a complete restoration while plans for its future are decided.

Will that future include Daytona Beach? Maybe. Jantzen is currently weighing its options but is closely following the groundswell of support that Daytona Beach residents and visitors are showing. Support such as that shown at a new Facebook page “Bring Back the Jantzen Girl” can do nothing but help. And if by chance the statue goes elsewhere a page like this is a great historical record. If you have photos or memories of the Jantzen Girl please feel free to share them here in the comments section.

Perry Ellis International is the owner of Jantzen, having acquired the company in 2001.

 

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A Rant About Social Media

Recently I have noticed what I feel is a strange social media phenomenon on Twitter and Instagram. Why do people follow you only to wait for you to follow them back then unfollow you just days later? It seems like such a waste of time.

An example: my wife and I have three dogs and I had followed a Labrador retriever page on Instagram. When I post the occasional photo of one of my dogs I will use the hashtag Labradorretriever or labsofinstagram or something that many others do. All of a sudden I received probably five or six requests to follow from assorted lab pages. I approved them and followed them back, I love lab photos. So lo and behold within a few days they had almost all dropped me, I believe only two are still with me. Sure, I don’t overrun my pages with photos of my dogs so maybe I wasn’t of interest to them. Photos of my dogs are really only of interest to me but I enjoy sharing at times. I have the word historian in my profile, did you think there would be hundreds of dog photos?

Now my Twitter and Instagram accounts do not have large numbers of followers (yet, I suppose I should add) nor do I follow large numbers of people and organizations so I can tell when I get unfollowed. I have started tracking those who have recently followed me and it is almost always one of them who has unfollowed me. If I followed them back I will promise you I respond in kind with a quick unfollow.

Now there are times of course I have not followed back and maybe they got their feelings hurt. Maybe they didn’t like a post: I will post pro Civil Rights pieces on Twitter but then follow it up with a complaint against monument removal. If your skin is that thin I recommend leaving social media and crawling in a hole. For me the issue is, don’t try to run up your numbers and not reciprocate.

And as an FYI, my point is only being made about non famous/prominent individuals. I didn’t expect Stephen King to follow me back when I followed him on Twitter nor do I anticipate whoever runs the Mount Vernon pages to like mine when I follow them. If I follow I don’t really expect a follow back. It’s nice but not expected.

All that said, if you wish to follow me on social media, find the icons on this page and give them a click then like or follow!