In January, in spite of its status in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s largest collection devoted to any one fruit,” The International Banana Museum received an eviction notice from its city-owned space in Hesperia, California. Top Banana Ken Bannister, who has run the museum and The International Banana Club since 1976, put the museum up for sale on eBay but had some initial trouble finding a buyer. Luckily for banana lovers everywhere, Fred Garbutt and his mother Virginia made Bannister an acceptable offer, and the museum is scheduled to reopen next January next to the Garbutt’s liquor store in North Shore, Calif.
- Bannister estimates he spent $150,000 amassing the museum’s collection of 17,000+ banana themed “artifacts”
- The Garbutts wouldn’t reveal how much they paid for the museum, but the price on eBay started at $35,000 and eventually dropped to $7,500
Banana Museum Origins:
Please watch this video:
- Bannister’s reaction to the eviction notice: “I guess it’s time to split.”
- Title of Wall Street Journal article about Bannister’s search: “In California, the Banana Museum Has Lost Its Appeal”
- Fred Garbutt on deciding to buy: “The more we talked about it, the more we were like ‘This might just be bananas enough to work.’”
- Fred Garbutt on his mother’s official title at the museum: “My mom is ‘Big Banana Nana.’”
More highlights of Fred Garbutt’s interview with Gawker:
- “We’ve tried to think for the longest time of ways to bring in customers off the highway. So I thought we ought to put that down at the store—that’ll bring people in. Paint the store yellow.”
- “It’s going to stay family friendly, definitely. It’s a banana museum, there’s no reason to put anything in there that you wouldn’t want your children to see. I’m sure there’s a lot of battery-operated objects that would not be appropriate.”
Top Banana Ken Bannister is still keeping the rights to the International Banana Club — lifetime membership is available for a $10 fee.
[Image: The International Banana Club]