Bass Pro Shops founder vows to drop legal battle - WFLA News Channel 8

Bass Pro Shops founder vows to drop legal battle against Valrico business

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VALRICO, FL (WFLA) -

The last two days have been a whirlwind for Kelly Morris.

His modest Valrico business, Simple Life Outfitters, was threatened when mega store Bass Pro Shops launched an expensive legal battle against him.

Bass Pro, which plans to open a giant store in Brandon next year, said Morris' logo looked too much like theirs, and they wanted him to stop using it.

"You can't own a circle, you can't own an oval, you can't own shading. You can't own different kinds of fish," Morris said.

Morris told his story to 8-On-Your-Side Thursday and, immediately, there was a firestorm of support online.

WFLA's Facebook page, and the Facebook page of Bass Pro Shops lit up with Simple Life Supporters.

Hundreds drove from all over Tampa Bay, and beyond, to buy Simple Life T-shirts and hats.

"It's just overwhelming," Morris said of the support.

Then Saturday, Morris' luck changed.

The founder of Bass Pro, Johnny Morris, walked right in to the Valrico store.

"He said, "I just want to formally, in person, apologize for what my company has done to you and your wife and your family," Morris said.

Kelly Morris says the founder was on vacation in Ft. Myers when someone told him about what was happening in Valrico.

"When he found out about it, he told his wife, "We have to go to Valrico," Morris said.

Johnny Morris said he had no idea someone at his company decided the Simple Life logo was worth going after.

He promised to drop the whole thing. He said the legal battle would be over Monday morning.

In addition to the visit here to the store, the founder and owner left behind a hand-written note apologizing and promising to reimburse for legal fees.

Kelly Morris says he's thankful for the community support and hopes to sell his T-shirts for years to come.

"I'm so thankful this is over," he said. "It doesn't feel real."

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