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Fun, custom shirts rule at Siesta Key Outfitters

By Jane Bartnett

It’s known as “the biggest little store in the Village.” Throughout the years, tourists and locals alike have come to learn that Siesta Key Outfitters is the place to go when you want a custom T-shirt, hoodie or sweatshirt.
But what those who haven’t discovered this small but mighty store may not know is that there are a lot of big surprises packed into this little shop.
“In a nutshell, we make T-shirt-dreams-to-go,” said James Ritter, who has owned the store for 12 years. There are T-shirts and onesies for newborns, T-shirts for children up to 5X, and shirts for men and women of all sizes.
“No one on this island has the selection of T-shirts for children that we do here,” Ritter said.

James Ritter, owner of Siesta Key Outfitters, with a fun T-shirt that illustrates what the island’s night life has to offer. (photo by Jane Bartnett)

Gazing at the endless designs that are displayed behind the counter, Ritter seemed to amaze himself at the number of options available. “We have hundreds of choices,” he said. “I’d say 90% of the people who come in here want a custom T-shirt on the spot. We do it in a matter of minutes.”
Should a customer want a special design that is not currently on display, Ritter says that he can produce that within a few hours.
“It has to look perfect. We provide 5-star customer service. Everyone leaves happy,” he said with pride.
Ritter can also create custom T-shirts for large groups, with advance notice.
“If people have an idea of their design or a photo or logo that they want to have on the T-shirt, we’re happy to help with that,” said Ritter. He’s created many special designs for weddings, family gatherings, and other large events.
Recently, a customer ordered 70 shirts for a family event in advance of the day. The design featured a palm tree on the front and the date of the event on the back. “What a great way to remember your special day,” Ritter said.
Custom T-shirts can also be produced for business meetings and other large gatherings, he said.
“We have a loyal customer base. “I’ve been here 12 years and I love it,” said Ritter. “I love Siesta Key. This store creates an atmosphere of happiness.”
The busy shop, located at 5131 Ocean Blvd., is also a well-stocked variety store.
“We’re in the beach-ware business. This store has whatever people need for the beach,” Ritter said on a tour of the shop, pointing out beach towels and beach toys.
Among the other offerings are souvenirs, postcards, mugs, and a wide selection of clothing for men, women, boys and girls.
Guys who are looking for a classic Hawaiian shirt for a night on the town or to wear on their way to the beach will find a collection of classic button-up tropical shirts. “I import them directly from Hawaii,” said Ritter. He also offers a selection of men’s HUK Gear brand fishing shirts with SPF built into the fabric and carries the popular Hurley brand men’s shorts.

Women will find fashionable Banana Boat dresses made with SPF fabrics, dresses from the Miami women’s clothing line Elan, and Liquid Energy fashion sweatshirts and casual pants. The shop also has a full collection of straw hats from Sun ‘N’ Sand, Caribbean Joe, plus baseball caps.
Fashionable embroidered straw and cloth tote bags from leading manufacturers are also stationed near the women’s dresses and hats.
“People tell me how well the store is done, how good it looks. It’s the ultimate compliment” said the store owner as he looked back on his 30-year career in the business.
Sunglasses, of course, are a vital accessory for any Siesta Key visitor. Ritter prides himself on the high-end collection of sunglasses that he offers from leading brand names for men and women. Oakley, Ray-Ban, Belle, and Maui Jim glasses are on display in glass cases.
This year, Ritter also added the popular Cocoons Original Polarized Fitter Sunglasses. “They’re designed to fit over your prescription glasses and they’re for men and women,” he explained.
Daily store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call (941) 349-3490 or email Siestakeyoutfitters@verizon.net.

Jane Bartnett
Author: Jane Bartnett

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