DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — After working the docks and island boats for five summers in a row, Lexie Kilgore decided to open up her own Crab Island vendor company. Crab Island Merch & More sells souvenir T-shirts and ice cream on the popular Destin sand bar.

But what does it take to work a vendor business on Crab Island?

Kilgore said to be a good employee on Crab Island, you need to be at least 18 years old, prepared for long days, and ready to battle all kinds of weather elements.

“Weather in Florida is crazy,” said Kilgore. ” It will start raining, storming at any time, so you just gotta be prepared for that. You gotta drink lots and lots of water ’cause it’s very, very hot and then sunscreen is also really important.”

  • The main work season is March to October: Operation and staff are split in half or less following the Labor Day Weekend.

Kilgore previously worked under Crab Island Jimmy’s, a rental pontoon company that is shedding its other vendor gigs to focus on boat rentals. She bought the gear and boats from Jimmy and other folks in town to create her own fleet.

Kilgore ended with 20 employees for the 2022 season and said the work culture is like summer camp. College kids come back to work every summer until they are through school, referring their friends to take over as the years go by.

  • In a season, Kilgore said employees can pocket $10,000-$15,000.

The vendor market is heavily saturated for the sand bar. Kilgore said there are about 30 different businesses out there selling t-shirts, food, and all sorts of crazy Crab Island items. Businesses that operate to make a profit on the sand bar need to be licensed and pay business fee’s to the county and city governments.

In her first year owning and operating the vendor business, Kilgore said it went better than expected.

“Definitely better than we expected,” said Kilgore. “We had a few bumps in the road, but I had a really great team of employees that whenever we come together we can pretty much figure anything out. So I’m lucky to have them.”

At the end of the day, if you want to work by the water, Kilgore said you need to love the water.

For more information about seasonal jobs, contact Crab Island Merch & More.

Stay ahead of the biggest stories, breaking news and weather in Mobile, Pensacola and across the Gulf Coast and Alabama. Download the WKRG News 5 news app and be sure to turn on push alerts.