Arkansas’ unemployment rate now sits at a 6 year low of 7.2% but signs of the recession are all around us. Rock City’s largest luxury hotel, the Peabody, announced last fall that they would sell the hotel. The hotel eventually sold to Fairwood Capital to become a Marriott property and in the process leaves 10 workers and 5 ducks as recent victims of the recession.
Since the news of the sell of the property broke we have heard an outcry of request to learn what the fate of the ducks will be. Thankfully we have learned that the ducks will not end up served across the street by Chef Joël Antunes at Ashley’s, which was a big concern of many readers given the restaurant’s strong history of local sourcing ingredients. We sat down with the ducks yesterday after their swim in the hotel’s fountain to see what their plans are for life after Rock City.
The five Peabody Little Rock ducks, Huey, Dewy, Louie, Donald, and Emilio, all received offers to transfer to other Peabody properties in Orlando and Memphis. Huey and Louie took the offer and will move to the Orlando resort. “Huey and I have been best friends since we started here in Little Rock, so we decided to go together” Louie tells us. “The decision was tough, ultimately there are not a lot of opportunities for a trained duck and we stood the best shot of staying together by sticking with Peabody. We chose Orlando over Memphis because the girls are much prettier, and it is just a short fly over to the beach to land a few drops on spring breakers for fun.”
Donald tells us he was inspired by his friendship with Hot Dog Mike which began when Mike worked as a consultant for the reopening of the Capital Hotel. “This city has an unnatural love of hot dog trucks. They seem to attract more attention than anywhere else in the country, monopolizing prime time news and front pages” Donald shares. “Mike showed us all how an out of work hotel guy can stick around this city and start an impressive business. I can even fly south during the winter for a month or two, come back and have a parade thrown about my return. Absolutely incredible business model.” Donald tells us his hot dog cart, “The Don Dog”, will serve veggie and rice dogs to share his meat free diet with others.
When asked about his future Dewy tells us he is still undecided. “I think I am going to just use this as an opportunity to take some time off, maybe do some freelance ducking,” Dewy explains. “I have been wanting to start a business for a while, I hear there is a new coworking place going in Argenta. I might set up shop there and see if I can attract some new customers. Until then DoubleTree next door has agreed to allow me to work from the pool. I should have business cards sometime next month.”
Most interesting of all the soon to be former Peabody Ducks is Emilio. Emilio is one of 3 finalist for an upcoming position with the University of Oregon as their live mascot. “I always thought I could do more than this town had to offer. I want to really see where utilizing my full potential can take me. I think being in the spotlight at a big time university like Oregon can really propel my career. I figure ESPN commercials by the end of next football season, maybe a movie in 2014.” We asked Emilio if former 22 hour Razorback Basketball head coach Dana Altman, now head coach of Oregon’s basketball team, presented any road blocks to landing the job. “Danny, that is what his friends call him, and I chatted while watching a game during the NCAA Tournament last week from his skybox about that. He said he 100% supports anyone willing to shun Arkansas for more money. I think he supports me.”
We reached out to Peabody Properties after the interview and they said they are happy to retain the services of Huey and Louie and wish the other three ducks the best of luck with their futures.