It wasn’t all fun for the Jersey Shore cast. The stars of the MTV series were forced to work at the Shore Store during their seasons on the boardwalk — but luckily for them, they had a cool boss.
Danny Merk, the co-owner of the now famous T-shirt stop, quickly became a fan-favorite on the show. He resurfaced on the season premiere of Jersey Shore Family Vacation when Jenni “Jwoww” Farley, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, and Deena Cortese paid him a visit before Miami — and Snooks exclusively told Life & Style over the summer that they still keep in touch.
“Danny still texts me,” she said before they filmed their E! special over the summer. “We all come down to the shore because a lot of us have shore houses… so we usually see Danny from time to time and he’s still the same old Danny! Still busting his butt at the Shore Store, so he’s still doing Danny things.”
So how did Danny end up “hiring” the Jersey Shore cast? Turns out, the cast’s summer house, Smush Room included, was actually owned by Danny, too. “It just came out of nowhere. Someone was scouting locations for a reality TV show, asked if I’d mind if they took some pictures of the house I had lived in for 10 years and then they asked if they could rent my house out for a month,” he told the Huff Post in 2012. “This was just talk at first. I thought, ‘Nothing’s going to happen.’ But then suddenly, they wanted me to move, and I moved 10 years of our lives in a matter of one night.”
He continued, “And then, coincidentally, they asked to see the boardwalk, and I said, ‘Let’s just cut through my store.’ And they said, ‘I love this place. Let’s give them jobs.’ I was reluctant about that at first, but then I thought, ‘What the hell? Give it a try.'”
Today, tourists and Jersey Shore fans alike make it a point to stop by the store and take a selfie with Danny — and he still doesn’t regret being a part of the reality show. “The parking lot is always full. The town’s making money. There are fresh coats of paint everywhere, and new fencing has gone up, so I can only say that the Jersey Shore has helped the Jersey Shore big time.”
Yeah, buddy. To see how much the cast has changed over the years, check out the gallery below!