“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” Janet Fitch
This could easily be a story just about the fire that destroyed Margarita Mermaids (formerly The Satisfied Frog), a new restaurant/bar owned by us, Rick and Krissy Nichols, on the south end of the Malecón.
It is not.
It could easily be a story about the economic devastation businesses and individuals faced during the shutdowns born of COVID-19.
It is not.
Truly, this is a story about a community that cares for others like no other city I know. We want to share our story so that others know what an amazing city we are honored to call our home; Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, fondly called Rocky Point by many in the U.S.
These have been fiery times for all of us. Rocky Point has been especially hard hit for residents and businesses alike whose survival depends on tourism as its main economic engine. Tourism came to a halt on March 15th.
Our story was no different than many others trying to survive through the COVID-19 pandemic. My wife Krissy and I experienced the hardship of being forced to close The Satisfied Frog on May 31st due to the financial impact that was born of COVID-19 related business losses. To our staff, we told them, “Don’t worry, we will find a way to keep us all going through this crisis as long as we work as a team.” They had faith we would do whatever we could to keep them employed and their families taken care of.
Without going into details, our prayers were answered at the final hours, literally on the night of May 31st when two dear friends came by and asked to pray with Krissy just a few minutes before we were to close the Frog for good. These two angels gave us the way to build on a dream we’ve had for 3 years – a new restaurant concept called Margarita Mermaids.
Margarita Mermaids became official on June 2nd when we secured our backing to open our new concept restaurant and the best part was telling our staff that every one of them would have a job and that we will all stay together, in the same waterfront location as The Satisfied Frog, on the south end of the Malecón.
Determined to give a new look and artistic flare to Margarita Mermaids, our team and friends worked tirelessly to transform the building into an oceanside destination with bright, welcoming colors, and unique one-of-a-kind artwork featuring local artist, Memuco with beautifully painted mermaids and ocean waves. After a month, Margarita Mermaids opened to the public on July 4th and it was beautiful.
On July 19th we received a call at 2:00 AM with crushing news. There had been an electrical fire that had burnt the kitchen down and spread out into the dining room, leaving virtually nothing but destruction in its wake.
“If you lose faith, you lose all.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Krissy and I sat in front of our now burnt-out Margarita Mermaids at 6:00 AM on the 19th devastated, heartbroken, and numb. We called friends and waited for our staff to arrive. Although we were all in tears, we assured our team, once again, much like recovering from the closure of The Frog, that we will rise literally from these ashes, but at this point we really had no idea how. We were left with shattered dreams, ashes, and faith.
Within just an hour or so our friends, and owners of what many would consider “competitors”, started to show up to help with the fire clean-up and immediately began the demolition and restoration. So many friends!! The crews from Boo Bar, Manny’s Beach Club and Boo Bar, Tekila Bar, Sharkbite, Jill Mitchell and Jillz Joint all jumped in to help us through this terrible event and lift our spirits. Friends started dropping off cases of water, drinks, food to feed the crews, cleaning supplies, shovels, and ladders. The blessings kept coming! We received thousands of well wishes from Alaska, Canada, Arizona, Texas, California, and everywhere else in-between poured in. That love gave us strength.
After the first 24 hours of extremely dirty, hard work by over 25 people, which included every person from our staff, Krissy and I realized we weren’t going to be able to manage this rebuild. It was just too much for us. Then a miracle happened. The owners of Manny’s Beach Club, Tekila Bar and Sharkbite, Jorge and Jerry Gaona and Shayna Sargent came to Krissy and I and offered to manage our demolition and rebuild of Margarita Mermaids for us…labor free…if we could cover the materials. This is the real story of an amazing community of really good people who sincerely care about each other and will help others in need.
Material costs were impossible for us and, once again, our friends jumped in to help. We need to give huge thanks to so many. We would not be able to re-open Margarita Mermaids if it wasn’t for the fundraising events hosted at Manny’s Beach Club with our dear friend Mike Nash, and an online music fundraiser with our dear friend Mark Mulligan. Our wonderful friends we have made over the last seven years in this community poured their hearts out to us, and the donations came in to cover most of the materials we needed to rebuild. To all of you, THANK YOU!
The story gets better…
The owners of Manny’s Beach Club and Tekila Bar had a fundraiser a few weeks before to help their employees, and other employees of other bars in need. Our employees were shocked when the Manny’s and Tekila Bar owners presented our staff enough money for each of our employees to pay their electric bills. Good people are the heart of Puerto Peñasco.
The story… “The “Love in Puerto Peñasco”… This is a community that gives support for all who call out for help. We all help where we can. It does not make a difference who you are or where you come from! We will pay-it-forward and will look for ways to help others in need in our community. A little bit of kindness goes further than you may think.
Krissy and I look forward to many more years of supporting the many groups in our town and giving back to our community. Margarita Mermaids Grand Opening will be October 9th and 10th, which will be a fundraiser weekend. We will be continuing our feeding ministry with the Family of God Church until they don’t need us anymore, and accepting donations online after we’re open, to continue to support Steps of Love, Younglife, our local disabled wheelchair basketball team, Tiburones Sobre Ruedas, those in need, street vendors, the disabled, seniors, and others in need in Rocky Point. Stay healthy and we hope to see you soon! Thank you again to all our friends and angels.
Rick & Krissy Nichols
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” Confucius
Our journey is not complete yet. We are still in need of about $10,000 in additional funds to complete the job. Donations to help complete the restoration and provide some compensation to the crews that did the rebuild for us can be sent to:
Fire Relief Fund
PO Box 828
Lukeville, AZ 85341