Most of the memorable moments from Jersey Shore's six seasons took place at Seaside nightclubs, in Shore House bedrooms or on the streets of Florence, Italy. But their employer argues otherwise.
Speaking with reporters earlier this month, Shore Store owner Danny Merk reflected on his favorite memories of his most rambunctious summertime employees.
"So much doesn’t get aired," said Merk. "Pauly [D DelVecchio] is hilarious, I gotta say. Girls come in, he tries to make everyone feel like he’s a janitor sometimes, so he grabs the vacuum and he chases you around the store with the vacuum. I think that’s hilarious. He’s like, ‘I don’t work here’ when they ask him for help. ‘I don’t work here, I’m just a janitor!’ ”
Not everybody entertains customers with comedy while on the clock.
“Ronnie [Ortiz-Magro] sneaking drinks in the back -- that’s always funny. And then he comes out and he’s just pressing things backwards. They work great, but they also goof around a lot. But everyone does,” recalled Merk.
The final season, airing on MTV, showcases Jenni “JWOWW” Farley and Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola excelling behind the counter.
“They’re like women possessed! They're like, taking money and they’re amazing at it, they’re great at it!” he said. “It’s been four years, so everyone’s found their niche, and those two girls found their niche at the register.”
“Ronnie and Pauly love doing the press, and Vinny [Guadagnino] likes to do a little of everything: He’ll do register, he’ll do the middle, he’ll do press, the floor, so those are my top. Deena [Cortese], Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino -- they have their moments.”
So who is the best employee of the Jersey Shore cast? “Mike is the most talented, I gotta say," admitted Merk. "He can make the most sales if I give him some kind of incentive like, he can get out an hour early if he makes this many sales.”
Merk snapped his fingers. “He does it like that! But he doesn’t use his powers for good,” he joked.
The Shore Store owner and Shore House landlord was protecting his Halloween storefronts in Miami when Hurricane Sandy hit Seaside Heights, tearing through the boardwalk and Funtown Pier. The popular retail spot where the cast has worked for the past four summers suffered immense water damage from the superstorm and was looted in the aftermath.
“I feel like I’ve done all that work all my life, and I’ve got nothing,” said Merk of the store he has owned since 1998. “I’m the same as some kid who’s done nothing; I might as well have sat at home and played video games. I’m so back asswards, guys, it’s hard to say. I’m working to get everything back as fast as I can, but even if I get my store up and ready tomorrow, there’s still no town – there’s no hotels, no boardwalk, no other stores. The nightclubs are even down. Everything’s messed up.”
“We’ve been Danny’s employees longer than anyone else in the store -- we’ve been working there for four summers now -- and we saw him react to it for the first time,” added Vinny. “It’s just crazy, seeing someone’s whole life and life’s savings and pride and joy become a pile of rubble now. It was definitely heartbreaking.”
Immediately after Sandy hit and devastated Merk's business, it was Vinny who got on the phone to check in first.
“Vinny called me before my own mother called me,” said Merk. “It’s weird, the people that contact you before other people that you think would contact you. There are a lot of people that reached out to me right away, but everyone’s so helpless, too. Seaside Heights is one big construction zone now.”
Although many of Merk’s rental properties, including his own home, are uninhabitable, the infamous 1930s beach house still stands.
“It’s an old house, it’s one of the oldest houses in Seaside Heights,” he said of the Shore House. “But the boardwalk fronted most of the blow. Thank goodness for that median."