WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH -- If you've ever visited Wrightsville Beach, there's no doubt you've caught a glimpse of Johnny Mercer's Pier -- a local landmark and as one man describes "the gem of this beach town." "It's the sweetest pier on the coast. This is the best pier, period," James Neal said. Neal has lived in Wrightsville Beach for most of his life. He's worked at Johnny Mercer's Pier for the past six years. "You meet all kinds of people, from all walks of life and all over the world." Neal says the pier has seen a lot of changes over the years. It used to be made of wood, before being destroyed by Hurricane Fran in 1996. This Wrightsville beach landmark was revamped in 2001. It was rebuilt in concrete, and named after late southern singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer. Now, Johnny Mercer's Pier is considered one of the most popular attractions in southeastern North Carolina. "A lot of people come here on vacation just to see the pier." For vacationers like Mark Robinson, the pier is a frequent family hot spot. Vacationer Mark Robinson said, "I just like it down here. It's quiet, everything is real convenient and everyone is friendly around here." For others, it's all about the fishing. Vacationer Charlie Salemmo said, "The pier is awesome. I've never really seen a pier like this before. It's nice and the fishing is pretty standard for me-- all bites and no fish." As for Neal, says he expects to see more changes at Johnny Mercer's pier in the future, but one thing will remain constant -- he'll be a fixture at this site for many years to come. Neal says some of his most memorable moments at the pier have been accompanied by a fishing rod. His biggest catch was a 42-inch flounder he reeled in a couple of years ago.
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