Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brandon Boulevard's beloved pink elephant up for auction

BRANDON — The city's beloved pink pachyderm is looking for new land to roam.

The popular local landmark that has stood in the grass off Brandon Boulevard since 1974 is up for auction.

Paula Yambor, who owns the land at 1350 W Brandon Blvd. where Shelton's Nursery, Gazebos and Spas operated for 32 years until closing at the end of 2004, said it's finally time to set her iconic statues free.

She's selling the elephant statue and its counterpart, George Washington riding a purple camel.

"I love looking at them," said Yambor, who hopes another Brandon business will win the bid. "It's just time."

The statues stand as community icons and have grown in lore over the years. While local residents have compiled memories, scrapbooks and even a YouTube video of a night time "hunt," for the herbivorous elephant best known for helping to sell flora, Yambor tells many fond stories of her own.

She said the elephant made an appearance on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and it was used as a spotter for MacDill Air Force Base. But the story of how "pinkie" came to be stands out for her.

According to lore, the pink elephant and camel were part of a "moonshine menagerie" that originally included a giraffe. The trio of zoo animals were made hollow in effort to conceal alcohol during the prohibition years from 1920 to 1933.

Yambor's late husband, Arthur, who operated the nursery until succumbing to leukemia in February 2004, requested them as payment after helping the original owner move the giraffe from a bar on U.S. 301 to Bell Shoals road. Arthur used a boom truck to move the cement sculptures since the elephant alone weighs approximately one ton and can fit two adults inside.

In 1997, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the nursery, the Yambors decided to paint the elephant silver. Local residents objected with such vigor that it quickly returned to pink.

In autumn of 2004, George Washington was painted powder-blue with a bright white wig, and his camel turned raspberry. Currently, Mr. President dons a yellow outfit atop a purple camel and the elephant also was retouched this summer with a pink carnation hue.

"They got some new clothes for their departure," said Paula, who consults with her children, Arthur Andrew and Marjorie, on what's best for the mini monuments.

After selling part of the land to Dunkin' Donuts in 1994, the Yambors have had the rest of the land up for sale for years. They don't want a potential tenant to deal with the animals.

Yambor said her husband once turned down a $5,000 offer for the pink elephant, saying he would keep it until he shut the business.

"He kept his word and I kept his word for another nine years," she said.

Yambor, a retired English teacher who taught in college for 20 years — including at University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College, and 15 years of eighth grade in Hillsborough County — calls herself a "very honest" person. So when bidders call her to make offers on the statues, she will tell them exactly where the highest bid stands.

Bids for the elephant and camel will need to exceed $1,100 and $500, respectively and she said she would accept incremental raises as low as a quarter.

She also said the elephant is missing a tusk and the camel has a broken tail, but she has both pieces to give to the new owners if they want to repair them.

Finally, Paula offered one last parting idea for the pachyderm. If a cat named Stubbs can be mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for more than a decade, why can't a pink elephant be honorary mayor of Brandon?

Phone bids for cash-and-carry sales of the elephant and camel can be entered by calling (813) 689-6124 until the middle of July, when the highest bidder will be announced.

Eric Vician can be reached at [email protected]

. If you go

Pink Elephant Auction Block

The old Shelton Nursery pink elephant and George Washington/purple camel statues are up for auction. Phone bids for cash-and-carry sales can be entered by calling (813) 689-6124 until the middle of July, when the highest bidder will be announced.

Brandon Boulevard's beloved pink elephant up for auction 06/27/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 5:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Lawsuits, lawyers, school board pay and more


    IN COURT: A former Hillsborough County school district top administrator sues the School Board and its chief of staff, alleging board member corruption and …

    Hillsborough School Board member Susan Valdes is the subject of several allegations in a former employee's scathing lawsuit.
  2. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.
  3. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17


    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida


     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  5. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion


    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]