Because nice matters

On April 19, the city of Vero Beach issued a certificate recognizing Mike Williams, aka “Mr. Smoke’s,” for his contributions to the community and 35 years in his current location. His customers marveled at the irony: This was the very same business that both the city and the state fought to shut down in the 1980’s.

How did Mike go from being anathema to award-winner? He never gave up. More importantly, he never became bitter. He kept going, and he kept smiling.

Last year, I attended his 34th anniversary party and wrote about his customers in a piece entitled “A good guy, always happy.” This year, mayor Jay Kramer showed up to congratulate Mike and receive the first t-shirt. Other than that, the event was just like last year’s — a small-town gathering with live music and happy, smiling people hugging each other. As the sticker on Mike’s sales counter says, “Because nice matters.”

If you were featured in one of the photos below, please let me know if you’d like your name added to the caption!

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