Bass Pro Shops drops legal battle, but still has county battle - WFLA News Channel 8

Bass Pro Shops drops logo battle, but still has county battle to deal with

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Kelly Morris is still in disbelief.

"I'm glad it's over. It's been a roller coaster," Morris said.

Just last week, Morris feared he'd have to shut down his Simple Life Outfitters store. All because Bass Pro Shops launched an expensive legal battle against him.

The mega chain, which plans to open a store in Brandon next year, said Morris' logo looked too much like theirs, and they wanted it gone.

8 On Your Side's report on the battle led to an onslaught of controversy. Customers vowed to boycott Bass Pro.

Then on Saturday, something that no one expected happened. Bass Pro's founder, Johnny Morris, walked into the Valrico shop.

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

Johnny Morris says he had no idea about the logo battle, and he promised to drop the whole thing.

Immediately, critics praised the decision.

But how much damage was already done?

The negative attention comes at a time when Bass Pro is seeking more than $8 million dollars in an incentive package from Hillsborough County.

The money is supposed to be used for road improvements around the proposed store.

County Commissioner Mark Sharpe says the company doesn't have his support.

"For me, the concern is we need to be focusing what limited dollars we have on investing in the type of jobs we want to create in Tampa bay," Sharpe said.

Tom Mahoney, of T.A. Mahoney Marine, says what happened to Simple Life shows Bass Pro's true colors.

And he doesn't want his tax dollars used to help the large competitor.

"Ii think Bass Pro and Johnny Morris came down, because it's in Hillsborough county, we've got a vote coming up. Let's do a little bit of public relations and see if we can get this thing fixed," Mahoney said.

Even Kelly Morris, who now has new respect for the Bass Pro owner, still plans to fight the company's proposal for tax money.

"I think the way everybody came together, just for me, we need to put that into the community and support that too," Morris said.

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