CUMMING, GA — In 2001, Flacks Flooring moved into a building with an array of lawn ornaments not seen anywhere else.
There was a gorilla, a shield-wielding Viking, a bull, a bearded lumberjack and Santa climbing into a chimney. It also came with two pink panthers, one clad in a polka dot bikini.
Today, only the panthers remain.
“We kept the panthers because we thought they had value to the community as a landmark,” Flacks Flooring owner Brad Flack said. “This turned out to be truer than we ever thought”.
According to Flack, posts on social media that include the Pepto-Bismol-colored characters receive the largest number of reactions and comments.
When a Facebook photo was posted not long ago showing the panthers had been removed, social media alarms were sounded. Later, the set of two were photographed by Chick-fil-A in Dawsonville and eventually the flooring company told followers “April Fools.”
It was the highest rated post.
“Anything we do with the pink panthers gets a rise out of people,” Flack said.
Recently on Facebook, folks were asked to share memories and thoughts of the sunbathing big cats.
Alicia Astea, 32, remembers them well growing up.
“I remember then as we were driving to my grandma’s in Helen, Ga.,” she said. “I always looked for them to see if we were almost there or not.”
Growing up near the rose-colored couple, Megan Cook Tanju found the panthers helpful with directions.
“Landmarks for sure,” she said. “We lived off that intersection with 400 and the Pink Panthers were how we gave directions to our house.”
“People really care about them and we believe it is our job to take care of them,” Flack said.
Whitney Harper said the twosome were “a major landmark in my childhood” and she’s planning to bring her children to see them up close. Daughter Layla, 3 and son Deacon, 2, are in rear-facing car seats, and Harper’s not sure her children have seen them.
The cat couple is receiving a “spa” treatment of cleaning and fresh paint, thanks to Michael Ryan owner of Royal Painting. The process began Sept. 18 when the pair received a thorough washing. Coats of Sherwin Williams “Ovation Pink” will give them a fresh new look. Valerie Colussy will handle details.
“At Flacks we feel we are caretakers of something that belongs to everybody,” Flack said. “People really care about them and we believe it is our job to take care of them”
Flacks Flooring has been in business in Cumming since 1993, opening in the Old Matt Schoolhouse on Bannister Road.