Greetings from the Gulf: December

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A sign of the times, and then not so much

By John Morton

There I was, enjoying my evening at Blase Cafe, wearing my Groucho Marx disguise glasses just to be safe. After all, I had what I thought was a big secret, so I had to remain incognito.

That’s when someone approached, said “You’re the newspaper guy, right?” and, before I could counter with something like “Of course I can write, but I’m not so fond of your grammar,” he dropped the bomb:
“I heard that Tommy Bahama is going in where Davidson’s used to be.”
I asked him how he knew. Did he have inside information? Secret sources? Are we talking espionage here? Wire-tapping?
He said no, he had a wife back home in Cincinnati who just texted him.
Ah yes, the widespread power of the Siesta Key rumor.
The rumor has actually evolved to this: It’s an Alvin’s Island beachwear and surf store that’s going into the 8,5000 square feet in the center of Davidson Plaza, where the drugstore used to be, and the Tommy Bahama clothing store is going into the vacant corner spot there — temporarily, until it can find more space.
The information came from two sources who own property in the Village and are reliable with their information. However, Richard Davidson was unwilling to comment on the Tommy Bahama scenario, noting a lease was in place but only the tenant should be announcing its arrival. Fair enough.
As for the big space where his family business stood, he said no lease was signed and he was still pursuing a taker.
Oh, as a note to you snowbirds or tourists who just arrived, the Davidson’s on the south end of the island remains open. It just will no longer have a pharmacy.
Anyway, in the interest of responsible journalism — something that John Davidson himself started here with the Pelican Press — we are not going to put in print that TOMMY BAHAMA and ALVIN’S ISLAND ARE COMING TO DAVIDSON PLAZA.
By the way, an interesting and, for some, alarming pattern may be developing at that plaza. If these two chains do arrive, they will join fellow chains Lilly Pulitzer, Southern Tide, and Kilwins. When Sassy … the Little Day Spa relocates in the near future across the street, it will be interesting to see if another chain comes in.
Many of us always hoped Siesta Key would be mostly exclusive to local Mom and Pop businesses — stuff you couldn’t find anywhere else. In fact, when the Best Western was bought by local owners, when Subway was swallowed-up by Flavio’s, and one of the two 7-Eleven stores said goodbye, that concept seemed to receive some reinforcement.
Of course, how many Mom and Pop operations can now afford the rent that the Key is suddenly commanding? Especially in one of the Village’s most prime locations?
Recently, the Davidson family presented me an image of patriarch John on the cover of a business-themed magazine in 1986, championing his success as an independent pharmacist in a world where the chain stores were emerging.

Its headline reads “Can the drug chains beat our Prince of Pills?”
It’s an interesting dichotomy of how things have turned, and it’s finally even catching up with our little island.
And, to whom did the Davidsons sell their pills and prescriptions? Walgreens — one of the ultimate chains. However, they are close to both of our bridges so conveniently serving Siesta residents was certainly part of that strategy. It just might sound unfortunate, I suppose.
Either way, Mr. Davidson is a man I respect and admire immensely. Now in his 90s, his 65-year commitment to both serving Siesta Key as a pharmacist and always as a community leader are to be applauded.
For those who think his family has “sold out,” you’re not being fair and certainly not being realistic.


In the classified section of this issue, there’s a call-out to anyone interested in forming a knitting club. Well, I have your first project for you!
With that, we head to the south end of the Key to Pizza N’ Brew, which has been dark for months and leaving us in the dark along the way. Whether closed or what the owner said was a temporary break from doing business, the fact it hasn’t reopened with the arrival of tourist season is a bad sign.
And speaking of bad signs, the torn vinyl banner really needs to be fixed, whether the business is open or not. People wonder if one of the hurricanes caused it, but I’m told it’s the result of a careless delivery truck driver who snagged it.
So, it’s not like anyone is waiting on funds from FEMA.
The lousy look is not fair to the other businesses in Crescent Plaza. To be the anchor of the plaza, with high visibility right on the street, it doesn’t set a positive vibe one bit.
Meanwhile, the south end continues to look better and better. The facelift at the plaza that’s home to Crescent Beach Market is close to completion and even the 7-Eleven repaved its crater-ridden parking lot.
As for Pizza N’ Brew, we are all cheering for you. That spot has a 30-plus-year family history, formerly carrying the name City Pizza, and upgrades on the inside were taking place as recently as this summer.
Online, a new website exists that rebrands the business with the new name Hammerheads and touts an influx of Caribbean dishes to go with its pizza offerings. It’s even seeking employment applications. Check out
No doubt there is a lot to shake out, and if you plan to change your name I realize you don’t want to invest in a new sign, but until that occurs a little seamstress activity would go a long way.
Sew there. Ha!

(John Morton is managing editor of Siesta Sand.)

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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