Dave Vaught and his late wife, Susie, loved Tiny’s of Longboat Key. In 2008, when then-Manager Susie Vaught learned that Tiny’s was going to close, she sat next to a wall filled with pictures of Tiny’s regulars and cried. Then, she and Vaught decided to buy Tiny’s, and they took over ownership in December 2008.
When Susie Vaught died in January, Vaught and Tiny’s Manager Debbie Messina hoped to keep the bar alive. But Vaught says that, as the result of declining sales, Tiny’s will close Wednesday, March 31.
“We would love to keep Tiny’s going,” Vaught said. “But this is a business decision.”
According to Tiny’s regular and longtime Longboat resident Graham Cox, Tiny’s opened in the early 1980s with approximately half of its current space.
It was opened by Genaro Menendez, who stood approximately 6 feet, 8 inches tall and was known to locals as “Tiny,” according to Cox.
“It was all locals back then,” Cox said.
The bar expanded and had multiple owners before the Vaughts bought it. According to Vaught, he and Susie Vaught had a discussion last December about whether they could afford to keep the bar going. They agreed to re-evaluate the situation after the first three months of the year. But, according to Vaught, sales from January through March of this year are on track to be significantly lower than those from last year.
“We were hoping that sales would be at least equal to or greater than last year,” he said.
Both Vaught and Messina said that they would miss the customers at Tiny’s.
“They became our family,” Messina said. “There were a lot of celebrations, from St. Paddy’s Day to Halloween.”
But those celebrations aren’t over yet.
On Wednesday, Tiny’s will hold its annual St. Patrick’s Day party, which will feature music from Blues Pig. And the bar will continue to operate from 3 p.m. to close Monday through Saturday, most likely commencing with a party March 31.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].