Sand Key - Customer loyalty researchers take note: Larry and Sondra Edger, owners of Backwater's on Sand Key, Maggie Mae's and Cooter's restaurants provide excellent customer service to their customers and their customers respond in kind.
As in past years, the Edgers treated their customers to a free dinner on their anniversary, August 23, at their waterfront bistro, Backwater's on Sand Key, located in the Shoppes on Sand Key, at 1261 Gulf Blvd.
But the Edgers got a surprise or two when their customers turned the tables on them and treated the couple to added fun.
Owner, Larry Edger welcomed guests to the 2006 bash saying, "You've been great customers but best of all great friends." He gave a special thank you to those in attendance wearing white polo shirts with the Backwater logo on the back and the term, "porch people" above the front pocket.
The porch people are Backwater's regular customers that have formed a special bond with the Edgers and also with one another. To show their unity, the group purchased the matching polo shirts, and had a special congratulations sign created for the Edgers with all of their names printed on. But the biggest testimony to their loyalty for the Edgers came about an hour into the dinner when a bi-plane did a fly-by trailing a banner that read, "THX SONDRA & LARRY 6 FUN YEARS BACKWATER'S SAND KEY".
Altogether, the porch people contributed $1,200 to help make the Edger's anniversary special. Snow bird porch people also contributed though they were not in attendance.
The porch people's loyalty to the Edgers is fierce. And happily, they welcome new members! "Membership is tough and the initiation grueling, joked Gary Simcox, honorary porch manager.
His wife, attorney Brenda Furlow, said she and Simcox were at Backwater's on opening day and have been coming back ever since. Of the porch people she said, "We've been like a high school clique ever since."
Simcox praised the group of Backwater's regulars, "We've done some good things." "We've done some bad things, too," added Furlow with a giggle.
Aside from Backwater's anniversaries, the porch people often organize themselves for other events. During the holidays they adopt families in need and donate for food, clothing, and presents. They also take field trip excursions together. Says owner Sondra Edger, "One year we rented the Jolley Trolley and went hopping to other establishments, 7 in all."
Dining at Backwater's offers more than fun and friendship, however. The restaurant is known for it's exceptional food, including black grouper and Angus steaks, fresh seafood and local delicacies.
Plus, the view from the porch is spectacular, especially at night as it overlooks Clearwater Bay and down town. Dolphins, manatees, and sometimes sharks are added to the daytime view.
"If I didn't own it, this is the bar I'd hang out at!" concluded Sondra Edger.
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