Ocean City Today

Artist who made Alaska Stand’s mural unknown

By Kara Hallissey | Aug 31, 2017
Photo by: Kara Hallissey Dennis Renner, Bob Givarz’s nephew who helps run the Alaska Stand, poses with the mural on Monday afternoon.

(Sept. 1, 2017) When Bob Givarz passed away in July, a mural he had made a number of years ago emerged from a shop in Bishopville, but no one knows the artist who created the sign and many close to him didn’t even know it existed.

The three-panel mural depicts three generations of Givarz patriarchs, Benjamin, Gerald and Robert, standing in front of Alaska Stand on Ninth Street and the Boardwalk with customers waiting for burgers, shakes and fries at the pickup window.

The artist who created the masterpiece remains a mystery.

“I didn’t even know the mural existed until he died,” said Dennis Renner, Bob Givarz’s nephew who helps run the Boardwalk business. “I think he had it created to show the history behind [Alaska Stand.] It’s been in the family a long time.”

The Ocean City landmark opened in 1933.

Givarz, his friends and family say, was “notorious for having big ideas” and not always following through with them. He asked his friend Jack Curry, owner of Signs Illustrated in Bishopville, to store the mural at his shop, which is where the keepsake sat for about five to seven years, until he was ready to hang it up.

Currently, there are two theories as to when Givarz was planning to hang up the mural. The first is he wanted to have it up for the Alaska Stand’s 80th anniversary in 2013 and the other was to surprise his 90-year-old mother on her birthday, but neither came to fruition.

“I plan to have it hanging up by the beginning of next season on the side [of Alaska Stand down Ninth Street],” Renner said. “I wonder if Pepsi had anything to do with creating the mural since the sign has two Pepsi logos.”

Curry also commented on how the three-mural panels are made from Alumalite, which is what professionals use to make signs.

Visit Alaska Stand on Ninth Street and the Boardwalk Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 8 a.m. to midnight. There will also be limited hours throughout the offseason.

“Our slogan is ‘the purest and the best’ and every facet [from cooks to cashiers] we make sure that is what we are delivering to the public,” Renner said. “We cook your food when you order it. Everything is fresh and we get our meat daily. Our burgers are what people come back for. They come for miles and drive from Pennsylvania for the burgers.”

Anyone with information about who created the mural should email info@ alaskastand.com or call 410-289-7305.

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