Exploring Siesta Key

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Do you recognize the place?

By Jane Bartnett

If you haven’t been on Siesta Key in a year, you may find your head spinning at all the changes taking place in the local retail world. It’s become a game of musical chairs, as many of our most noteworthy storefronts are changing.
What’s going on you say? Well, there’s a lot to cover.
We’ll begin in the heart of Siesta Key Village and wind our way down to the south end of the island.
Last fall, a few days before Halloween, a ghostly chill sent shockwaves through the island. Signs appeared in the Davidson Drugs store in Davidson Plaza announcing the store’s permanent closing after 65 years of service to the community. No one saw it coming.
Recently, on a weekday visit to Davidson Plaza, signs of change were everywhere. Scaffolding in one corner of the plaza had been erected. Workers were seen on the roof of the building and the large windows of the former drug store were covered with paper.
Informed sources report that this is what is taking place both there and at the south end of the island:

Roof work is among the many things taking place at Davidson Plaza. (photo by Jane Bartnett)
  • Alvin’s Island, a large Florida-based retailer of beach-related merchandise, will open soon.
  • A Tommy Bahama store is expected to occupy the space near the Comfort Shoes store.
  • Sassy … the Little Day Spa will move to 219 Avenida Madera and join their sister business, Sassy Hair, in the space. (Sassy Hair is currently found at 209 Beach Road, next to Foxy Lady.) The Davidson family owns the space to where they are headed, which was formerly occupied by the Seafood Joint and Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream.
  • The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center announced in March that the organization will relocate to larger space at 5221 Avenida Navarra. The chamber has been based at the Davidson Plaza location for 25 years (see story on page 1).
  • Just two months after the Davidsons closed the Village store, signs went up at their Southbridge Mall location on Midnight Pass Road. As of this writing, the 10,253-square-foot former drug store that sits at the southern end of the shopping plaza is vacant. A sign offering the space for lease is posted prominently on the exterior of the building.
  • Continuing south, in Crescent Plaza, a new pizza restaurant is being created and a major remodeling effort is underway.
    A May opening is planned for Lenny’Z Pizza & Island Bar in the space that once housed Pizza N’ Brew. Owned by the Lennartz family, Dan, Theresa, and Tori Lennartz are the people behind this exciting new venture that will feature seating for 130 to 150 customers. A large bar sits at the front of the house.
    More on the new pizza establishment: On a recent visit, Tori was on location working with Siesta Key contractor John Maloney of Somal Construction and the two discussed the numerous and extensive renovations. It’s exciting and encouraging to see this prominent and sadly long-neglected restaurant space take on a new life with new owners.
    Pizza, wings, appetizers, salads, burgers, calzones, and handhelds will be on the menu, said Tori.
    “We moved here from Ohio three years ago. All our Crescent Plaza neighbors have been great and very supportive,” she said.
    What other surprises lay ahead in the coming months? Time will tell. Siesta Key has a long history of reinventing itself.
    As the once-quiet months of summer approach, no doubt it’s going to be a busy time as the retail real estate merry-go-round keeps everyone on their toes. By the way, you know that classic map of Siesta Key with all the shops and restaurants? It’s going to need a major redesign of its own.
Tori Lennartz gets her new pizza place in order at Crescent Plaza on Midnight Pass Road. (photo by Jane Bartnett)
Jane Bartnett
Author: Jane Bartnett

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