ELKHART — When Lochmandy Motors, 920 N. Nappanee Street, put a purple 25-foot inflatable gorilla on the sales lot last weekend, they were only hoping to promote their current sale, but confusion over the meaning of the giant primate has led the business to donate funds to the “Sarah Strong” campaign.
The city of Elkhart has been plastered with purple over the past few months as the community raises money for 15-year-old Sarah Crane and her battle against stage-four colon cancer. Passers-by thought Lochmandy’s gorilla was a sign of support for Sarah because purple is the main color of the fundraising campaign.
“We put it out because we own it and use it to promote big sales,” said Lochmandy General Manager Mike Lowrey. “We decided this morning, since it’s been getting so much publicity on Facebook, maybe we can do more.”
A photo of the gorilla with the words “Sarah Strong” written over its chest was posted to the Sarah Strong Facebook group on Friday, Oct. 4 and had earned more than 300 likes as of Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 8.
On Tuesday the business added a poster to the gorilla’s that reads “We are Sarah Strong.”
Lochmandy Motors is making a $500 donation to the Sarah Strong Fund and will donate an additional $100 for each new or used car sold through Saturday, Oct. 12.
Donations can also be made without the purchase of a vehicle, Lowrey said.