Familiar face leaving golf course’s snack bar after 18 years

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY —  After 18 years, there will be a new face behind the snack bar at the Sandridge Golf Course once commissioners dissolve the current operator’s contract next week.

April Norman, who has spent close to two decades behind the bar, has decided to call it quits and is asking the Board of County Commissioners to let her out of her contract by the end of March.

“We want to take it a little easy,” Norman said, including her husband, who works with her. With the termination of the contract, the county will have to find another concession operator to keep the snack bar open.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” said Bob Komarinetz, director of golf course operations. “I may be wrong.”

He expects the only thing to change when the new operator moves in are the faces behind the snack bar.

Norman, however, has been a fixture at the golf course, having gotten her start as a county employee 18 years ago working at the snack bar. In 2007, the county decided to outsource the snack bar’s operation and agreed to contract with Norman.

“I was thrilled,” Norman said, recalling finding out that the county had selected her bid proposal to run the snack bar. “I had no idea I would be picked.”

Norman said when the county decided to no longer run the snack bar, she and her fellow co-workers faced unemployment.

She said she didn’t like the idea of going to Walmart and being a greeter, so she decided it was worth a shot — asking the county to accept her bid to take the snack bar over.

“I really liked my job,” Norman said, adding that she was upset with idea of being laid off if someone else took over the bar.

Her contract was supposed to run until Sept. 30, 2012, but with the drop in the economy and recent medical issues, Norman said she has decided to ask out early.

Her contract requires her to pay a little more than $4,151 a month in rent.

“One hundred thirty-three dollars is a lot of hotdogs,” Norman said, referring to how many dogs a day she would have to sell to meet rent.

She said it has become more difficult to pay her monthly rent and has asked that the county allow her to pay just $1,000 a month through the end of March as a wind down to the termination.

The Board of County Commissioners were originally scheduled to take up the contract under its consent agenda Tuesday, but it has been rescheduled for next week instead. Norman said the terms of the contract’s dissolution have been modified, which is what forced the matter to be moved to Jan. 12.

Norman said she has loved working with the people she has worked with over the years at the golf course and she will miss them.

One of the fond memories she has working at the snack bar was when the Sandridge Golf Course – and the snack bar – hosted a fund-raiser to help Indian River County Firefighter Jay Morgan who has been diagnosed with a terminal case of cancer.

“He’s a really, really nice guy,” Norman said, adding she knows his mother from her years working at the golf course as a ranger.

But she’s ready for early retirement and planning the next stage of her life.

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