Jeanette Horning on running Hulk Hogan's Beach Shop, living in Clearwater & more
If not the biggest draw within the history of the wrestling business, then Hulk Hogan is undeniably one of the all-time biggest draws within the history of professional wrestling. In turn, it is only suitable that Hogan has his own store, and that would be Hogan's Beach Shop. With physical locations in Clearwater and Orlando, Florida, Hogan's Beach Shop is known to attract visitors of all ages and from all over the world.
When travelling to Clearwater, Florida last month for a press trip, I had the pleasure of visiting the Hogan's Beach Shop store on Mandalay Avenue. Merchandise aside, the store had some interesting artefacts on display while Wrestlemania 3 played on monitors. And interestingly, the Clearwater location of Hogan's Beach Shop is just steps away from Clearwater Beach Fitness, as owned by WWE Hall Of Famer Bushwhacker Luke.
Jeanette Horning, General Manager of Hogan's Beach Shop, kindly agreed to do some Q&A, and highlights from that interview are below. More on Hogan's Beach Shop can be found online at www.hogansbeachshop.com, while Horning herself -- also known as "Queen Jean" -- can be followed on Twitter via @RealJeanetteH.
How did you get involved with Hogan's Beach Shop?
Jeanette Horning: I have been with Hogan for almost 10 years now, we met through a mutual friend and his business partner Ron Howard. I started really working full-time with Hogan when the Original Hogan’s Beach Shop opened. We had our grand opening and ribbon cutting on October 27, 2012
What's a typical day at work like for you?
Jeanette Horning: There is never just a typical day at work for me. Each day there is always something new going on, whether it’s our amazing fans coming in to visit us or we get a surprise visit from well-known WWE wrestlers. Hogan also likes to keep me on my toes by either banging on the back door like a police raid is about to go down -- he loves to scare us and mess with us (laughs) -- he is the BEST boss and friend.
To someone who hasn't visited the store before, how would you describe it?
Jeanette Horning: The store is more than just a "t-shirt shop," it's an entire wrestling experience. It is a store where adults can relive their childhood, they can come to take photos with the 1986 belt that Hulk Hogan slammed Andre The Giant for. We have a ton of old-school memorabilia from the WWF and WCW days.
Is the Clearwater store particularly different from the Orlando store?
Jeanette Horning: Yes, it is. Our Clearwater store is the original store and the Orlando store is our second one, that one is much larger. It has Hulk Hogan's actual Hulkster Viper [automobile] in the middle of the store along with multiple lifesize wax statues of Hogan and the nWo motorcycle.
So Hulk does come into the stores...
Jeanette Horning: Yes, he comes into the Clearwater store once or twice a week. He likes to just randomly show up and surprise us. For everyone wondering, unfortunately, we do not know what days or times he comes in. We only get about a 10-minute head's up, and no we do not announce it because he does not stay very long.
What's coming up for Hogan's Beach Shop? Any special events? New merch?
Jeanette Horning: We have a couple signing events coming up with Hulk Hogan and Brutus The Barber Beefcake. March 23rd from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM at Clearwater with Hulk. March 30th from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM at Orlando with Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. May 25th from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM at Orlando with Hulk. We try to plan multiple signing events throughout the year. We are also going to be booking more wrestlers in the near future.
When not busy with Hogan's Beach Shop, how do you like to spend your free time?
Jeanette Horning: I spend most of my free time in the gym. Fitness plays a huge role in my life. I have played every sport: football, baseball, soccer, tennis, weightlifting team, track & field -- long jump, high jump, pole vault, hurdles, etc. When I was in high school I was the ONLY girl on my high school Varsity Wrestling team and the only girl to make it all the way to states. Hogan always tells me I need to get in the ring. (laughs) Well, he might be getting his wish sooner than later -- I have some exciting news to share with everyone, I am just waiting on the green light from production! Just call me "Queen Jean" -- remember that name!
Finally, Jeanette, any last words for the kids?
Jeanette Horning: I want everyone out there, no matter what age you are, to always believe in yourself. There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget and block out the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything less than happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living. ALWAYS remember: No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them!