Freedom Week Brings Economic Boost
The Florida Legislature this year decided the days around Independence Day could best be celebrated with tax breaks. Starting last Thursday, July 1, and continuing through Wednesday, July 7, the state has exempted certain purchases of outdoor items and event tickets from state sales tax.
Lawmakers say the event should both be a welcome respite for many who spent much of the last year in quarantine and also give a boost to Florida retailers after what was a trying year for many businesses and an unpredictable one for all.
“I’m hoping the tax break encourages people to go for those summer activity purchases they may have been considering,” said state Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-Sarasota. “And shop local. It’s a win-win to give Floridians a little savings and help local businesses. After the tough year we’ve all had, it’s a small token from the government to the people.”
State economists figure nearly $54 million in sales tax relief will come over the course of the seven days. Exempt items include music and sporting events, movie tickets, state park entry, most live entertainment events and passes to fitness clubs. Merchandise excused from sales tax includes the first $5 to $10 spent on bait, $15 on sunscreen or bug repellant, $25 on snorkels, goggles or swim masks, $30 on water bottles, lanterns, flashlights or tackle boxes, $40 on sporting equipment, $50 on bike helmets, hydration packs, sleeping bags, hammocks, camp stoves, camp chairs or safety flares, $75 on coolers, rods, reels, life jackets, paddles or oars, $100 on sunglasses, $200 on binoculars or tents, $250 on grills, $300 on surfboards or paddleboards, and $500 on canoes or kayaks.
“I do hope it helps bring more customers into stores and businesses but more importantly it gives families the chance to save some of their hard earned dollars on those items that are necessities for them and their children,” said Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton.
Photo courtesy Pixabay
Trump Shouts Out Sarasota GOP Leaders
Former President Donald Trump returned to Sarasota and attracted some 23,000 people to the Sarasota Fairgrounds, showing a community that helped his rise to prominence in politics still holds a special place in his heart.
“We’re thrilled to be joined tonight by many outstanding Republican leaders,” Trump said. He gave personal shoutouts to individuals, including state Sen. Joe Gruters and Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler, respectively the chair and vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida.
Trump still falsely maintained he won the November election “easily, we won by a lot, by a record.” But regardless of the fact Democrat Joe Biden now serves as president, Trump offered specific thanks to the Sarasota Republicans who made sure Florida remained in the Trump column.
“The Sarasota Republican Party, led by my good friend Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters,” Trump said before a fireworks show lit up the sky on Saturday. Trump also mentioned the Republican Party of Sarasota had twice named him Statesman of the Year, the first in 2012 just as he was becoming a major voice in Republican politics.
Gruters said he was thrilled by the mention, and that it showed why Sarasota made the perfect locale for the rally.
“I was on cloud nine after he mentioned me and I always go back to all interactions that I have had with him over the years and am glad he picked Sarasota as his first kickoff rally here in Florida,” Gruters said.
Photo courtesy Republican Party of Sarasota
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant Opens at New Fruitville Commons
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, a well-established wine membership concept originating in the Midwest, has rapidly expanded into a nationally-renowned destination for wine and food pairing aficiandos in the past few years. Combining an upscale, casual restaurant with a Napa-style tasting room and artisanal retail market, the brand’s expansion has increased throughout the state of Florida—now added to that list is the newest and third of Cooper’s Hawks on the Gulf Coast. Conveniently located just east of Interstate 75, the new Fruitville Commons center location officially opened its doors to the public last week—bringing its fresh wine-and-dine concept to excited Sarasotans and Lakewood Ranchers.
“Southwest Florida has seen rapid growth with its world-renowned beaches and ideal location on the Gulf Coast of Mexico,” founder Tim McEnery said. “As a year-round, go-to destination in South Florida and a place many go to escape the cold, northern winters, Sarasota was the perfect location for the Cooper’s Hawk brand.”
Each Cooper’s Hawk location offers wine tastings in a gorgeous open foyer, an exclusive and generous wine club, a wine shop with bottles to purchase and wine accessories, a chic bar to enjoy craft cocktails utilizing their wine creations, and an expansive eating area suitable for both leisurely dining and private business meetings. Every month, the brand features a special Wine of the Month to sample and learn about its unique notes to pair it best with one of Chef CJ LeFevre’s modern Americana menu items. The Dine-In Menu features various surf and turf dishes that pair naturally with Cooper’s Hawk vast selection of wines, with an inhouse Master Commelier, Emily Wines, to help diners choose the most complementary varietal with their meal. Wines are made at the company’s main winery in Illinois and then aged and served at nationwide locations onsite. Check out their Wine Portfolio here.
Pictured: Crispy Brussels Sprouts appetizer and bottle of Cooper’s Hawk Moscato, taken by Zach Dauth
Reserve your table for dining here.
In Conversation With Ben Graham of Michael Saunders & Company
Published in the July magazine, In Conversation: The State of Real Estate showcases five local experts in the real estate and construction field. Below is an excerpt from the discussion in which Ben Graham of Michael Saunders & Company shares his insight with SRQ readers on the trajectory of the commercial market in the region.
WHERE IS NEW COMMERCIAL GROWTH PREVALENT IN THE REGION?
Given the influx of folks moving to the state, they are always going to bring new ideas, new directions in businesses, and I see that a good bit. I’ve been focusing a lot on South County, Venice, Englewood and parts of Charlotte County. And I really feel like that is the trend, where Sarasota is expanding. You see the growth coming up from Naples and Fort Meyers. You have these pockets that are still very much green, but it could be pavement tomorrow. I see this every time I drive down River Road into Englewood; there are new developments coming in each month. I believe that new businesses are focused on certain areas that perhaps they may not have in the past, and that’s just because the price point is more attractive to them. There’s opportunity in those outlying areas that people should be paying attention to.
This is an excerpt from the In Conversation with Leaders in Real Estate and Construction published in the July 2021 edition of SRQ Magazine. Click here to see the full article.
Read More From In Conversation: State of Real Estate Here
Longtime Goodwill Volunteer Honored with Picture on Truck
Recently, a longtime, devoted Goodwill volunteer received the ultimate recognition: her photo on one of Goodwill Manasota’s trucks. Jo Rita Stevens, 89, has donated her time and resources to Goodwill for decades – she has contributed more than 50 years of volunteer service and support to the nonprofit. Prior to moving to Sarasota approximately 25 years ago, Stevens was heavily involved in the Goodwill Service Guild in Indianapolis, Ind. She began her involvement as a volunteer as a young mom staying home with two children. Throughout her time volunteering with Goodwill, Stevens learned about working with people with different abilities, and Goodwill’s role in helping them to achieve self-sufficiency and feel the pride of work. In addition to financial support, Stevens has volunteered on numerous committees, proudly represented Goodwill in commercials and print advertisements, and served as an Ambassador for the organization for many years.
“My service with Goodwill has made me passionate about giving back to the community; the work they do is so incredible,” Stevens remarked. “When people think of me, I want them to think of Goodwill. The organization changes lives – just as it has changed mine.” In early July at Goodwill’s Corporate Campus in Bradenton, Stevens saw her dream of being featured on a Goodwill truck become a reality. In attendance were members of Goodwill’s team, including President & CEO Bob Rosinsky, who said a few words in Jo Rita’s honor before photos were taken to memorialize the occasion.
Pictured: (From l-r) Goodwill Manasota President and CEO Bob Rosinsky, longtime volunteer Jo Rita Stevens, and Vice President of Operations Donn Githens during the unveiling of ‘Jo Rita’s’ truck
Gecko’s to Host a 100 Years Feature Night at Fruitville Gecko’s
On Tuesday, July 13 from 5:00-8:00 pm, guests will be able to sample the latest craft beer offerings from local Big Top Brewing Company, including our special feature beer, Centennial Lager, which celebrates Sarasota’s 100th birthday. And this special collaboration not only tastes good but does good, with GHG donating a portion of every can enjoyed by guests to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Charitable Foundation, a 5013c whose mission is support our law enforcement employees who find themselves in extraordinary personal or family need. The Sheriff’s Office is also commemorating their century of serving our families and communities. Taste, enjoy & share when you get your six-packs to go!
More information here.
Dates Announced for the 2021 Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival
After making the difficult decision to cancel last year’s festival due to COVID-19, The Siesta Key Chamber is excited to announce the dates for the 2021 festival! This November 12-15th, twenty-four premier master sand sculptors will be competing for 1st place on Siesta Beach. The Siesta Key Crystal Classic is a visual and cultural arts festival now in its 11th year and has hosted over 300,000 attendees on the best beach in the USA! In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four-day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an amazing outdoor art gallery.
And it’s more than just sand…the festival also features live music throughout the event along with a large village of shopping and food and drink vendors. Other activities include the popular three-day “Quick Sand” competition, sand sculpting lessons and an amateur sculpting competition. The festival will be open Saturday night until 9 pm with live music by Fleetwood Max, The Definitive Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band. A full live music line up will be announced in October. The party tent will be open and the sculptures will be lit through a fabulous light display.
The free Siesta Key Breeze trolley runs daily from 8 am to 10 pm to and from Siesta Key Village and Turtle Beach. A mobile app is available to track the trolley in real-time. Also, new transportation on and off Siesta Key is now available via Sarasota County’s OnDemand service. Customers can request a ride via a mobile app, which is available in app stores for iPhone and Android devices, online at scgov.net/OnDemand, or by calling 941-300-1553. OnDemand uses accessible minivans and operates similarly to today’s popular ridesharing services like Uber and Lift. The OnDemand vehicle will pick up customers and take them to their destinations within the same zone.
Visit siestakeycrystalclassic.com for information regarding the 2021 event schedule. Advance tickets and parking passes are on sale now. Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are also available.
Photo courtesy of Siesta Key Crystal Classic, presented in a collaborative partnership between the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and the Siesta Beach Festival, Inc.
Manatee Community Foundation Announces New Board Members, Officers
Garrett Shinn and Dr. Xavier Sevilla have joined the board of directors of Manatee Community Foundation, each for a three-year term.
Shinn is the Partner-in-Charge of the Bradenton and Sarasota offices of Carr, Riggs & Ingram. Shinn’s focus is working with tax clients for compliance and planning engagements of high net worth individuals, for-profit closely held businesses and not-for-profit entities. Shinn previously served as chair of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund of Manatee Community Foundation. Dr. Xavier Sevilla is Senior Vice President of Quality for the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2003, Sevilla was awarded the honorable mention of the Quality of Care Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his work improving care for medically underserved patients in Manatee County. Since 2012 he has led initiatives in delivery system transformation and quality improvement in Accountable Care Organizations, large medical groups, hospital systems and major health insurance plans.
Jeanie Kirkpatrick has been elected as chair of the board of directors of Manatee Community Foundation and will serve a two-year term. Other officer positions are held by retired Bradenton Herald Publisher Bob Turner, Vice Chair; retired Beall’s Department Store CEO Conrad Szymanski, Treasurer; Sherrill Wealth Management Project Manager Dannie Sherrill, Secretary; and retired Shenandoah University President Dr. James Davis, Immediate Past Chair. Additional board members are Tom Breiter, Jim Bruen, Tim Henning, Barbara Jennings, Simone Peterson, Chris Romine, Steve Roskamp, and Jenifer Schembri.
Manatee Community Foundation partners with others to strengthen and enhance our community through philanthropy, education, and service. The Foundation has awarded nearly $40 million in grants and scholarships since 1998. Learn more at ManateeCF.org.
Connect with a Local Agent of Distinction
Looking for a realtor? Our Summer 2021 Agents of Distinction feature showcases top real estate professionals on the Suncoast. Published in the July magazine, this feature is now available to view and download.
View the Feature Here
The Generous Pour , July 5
Looking ahead to a new normal, dining out tops the list of activities people are most excited to resume. A celebratory restaurant dinner calls for great wine, and The Capital Grille offers the perfect pairing with The Generous Pour. Starting on July 5, the annual summer wine event invites guests to sip as many wines as they wish from a collection of seven distinctive labels for $28 with dinner.
The Generous Pour encourages guests to explore new varietals and styles as they sample from a collection of acclaimed labels by Jackson Family Wines. Servers tap into their wine expertise to guide guests through a distinctive pairing experience, offering tasting notes and personalized recommendations for each new pour. Chosen to complement The Capital Grille’s menu, each course brings an opportunity to try something new—or a fresh glass of a favorite—in the ultimate wine dinner through September 6.
For guests who prefer a tasting in their own dining rooms, the restaurant also offers The Generous Pour at Home. With their takeout dinner, guests can order two, three or all seven of the featured bottles of wine and receive a complimentary wine opener as a gift. The offering honors the in-restaurant experience, with access to private tasting videos so guests can enjoy a guided wine dinner at home.
The Capital Grille , 180 University Town Center Dr., Sarasota
“Oh, the places we can go!” exhibition of fine craft , July 9 – August 28, 6pm
“Oh, the places we can go!” is a juried exhibition of handmade fine crafts where artists have created imaginative pieces inspired by places they’ve been or would like to go. From around the state, 37 artists created more than 80 pieces in ceramics, fiber, glass, metal and wood. At the opening and awards reception on Friday, July 9 at 6 p.m., people will have the opportunity to meet many of the talented artists and the show’s judge, Desmond Clark of St. Cate Fine Art.
Florida CraftArt, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
Liberty Litter Cleanup , July 5, 7am-9am
Volunteers will focuses on area beaches hit hardest by the July 4th celebrations. Cleanup efforts will take place from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Siesta Key, Lido Beach, South Lido Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty Park, Venice Beach and Blind Pass Beach & Park. All volunteers should report to the Site Captain at their cleaning location.
Embracing Our Differences , July 1 – August 8
An international art exhibit designed to proclaim inclusion, respect and kindness debuts at Sarasota-Bradenton’s Nathan Benderson Park. The annual, juried art exhibit is composed by a Sarasota-based arts and education non-profit, Embracing Our Differences (EOD). It consists of 50 billboard-sized works of art, each accompanied by an inspirational quote. The international exhibit uses the power of art and prose to promote diversity and inclusion. The 2021 exhibit brought 15,912 entries from 128 nations, and from 48 U.S. states. The winning quotes and art are showcased in the Bayfront Park every year, from January through March. Thanks to the generosity of the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, the public will have another opportunity to see this exhibit. The exhibit is on display at the park May 20 – Aug. 8 and is free for the public to view.
Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota
COVID Vaccination Pop Up Clinic at Asolo Rep Theatre , June 7 – July 6
Asolo Rep Theatre will host a FREE Moderna Vaccination Pop-up Clinic. The 1st Moderna shot will be offered on June 7 and the 2nd Moderna shot on July 6. Shots are available to those 18 and older only at this time. If interested you must register with Cameron Thorp Cameron_Thorp@asolo.org OR 941-351-9010 ext 3308. The deadline to register is June 1.
The Ringling: On Screen: Gook , July 8, 1pm
Eli (Chon) and Daniel (So) are two Korean American brothers that run their late father’s shoe store in a predominantly African American community of Los Angeles. These two brothers strike up a unique and unlikely friendship with an 11-year-old African American girl, Kamilla (Baker). As Daniel dreams of becoming a recording artist and Eli struggles to keep the store afloat, racial tensions build to a breaking point in L.A. as the “infamous” L.A. Riots break out. Note: Gook is a derogatory term for people of Asian descent, especially a person of Philippine, Korean, or Vietnamese descent. Join us at 1pm on July 8 at the Historic Asolo Theater for big-screen movie magic in the Historic Asolo Theater. July is dedicated to Asia in the Movies, an ongoing series of film screenings and conversations showcasing a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora. The initiative celebrates established and emerging voices, contemporary films and classics, animated films, as well as documentaries. The series builds on The Ringling’s mission to represent and center diverse voices and celebrate various cultures, as well as to become a space for relevant conversations around current social and political topics. For her final project, Anna Green, the performance Intern from New College of Florida has thoughtfully selected films for a series that educates, provides opportunity for conversation, and fosters understanding. We recommit to our values of equity, to providing a space for representation, and to highlighting the diversity and beauty of the Asian Community through Ringling’s film programming. Asia in the Movies strives to deepen our understanding of Asian cultures and our community. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13.50 for members, and $10.00 for students.
Battle of the Boneless , July 8
They may be spineless but marine mollusks are no pushovers! In fact, the gastropods that live in our oceans have fierce and fascinating lives employing a wide variety of superhero-like powers that make them more than just pretty shells. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is inviting guests to go beyond the beautiful shell to learn the real stories of these cool and complex animals in its newest special exhibition, Battles of the Boneless, opening July 8. This comic-book themed exhibition explores the adaptations that have allowed mollusks to become one of the largest and most diverse animal groups on the planet, with more than 93,000 species. 201 10th St. West, Bradenton
The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
Sarasota Contemporary Dance In-Studio Performance: Christal Brown , July 9 – July 10, 7pm
Sarasota Contemporary Dance presents Christal Brown both in-person and virtually. In-Person on July 9 and 10, 2021 at 7pm. Masks are required. Seating is limited at half capacity. Please book in advance to secure a spot. Tickets are $20. Ticket purchases close 30 minutes before the show. Virtually on July 9, 2021 at 7pm LIVE Stream and July 10, 2021 at 7pm Broadcast Recording. Tickets are choose what you pay, $5, $10, $15. Ticket purchases close 30 minutes before the show. What We Ask of Flesh is a physical examination of the capacity of human life. Christal has been in dialogue with this idea for four years through a series of works entitled; What We Ask of Flesh: Endurance (Elon University 2019) What We Ask of Flesh: Journey (Keene State 2019) What We Ask of Flesh: Compassion (Middlebury College 2018) What We Ask of Flesh: Understanding (Boston Dance Complex 2018) What We Ask of Flesh: Survival (EMIA 2017). Christal Brown is the Founder of INSPIRIT and Project:BECOMING, the creator of the Liquid Strength training module for dance, an Associate Professor of Dance at Middlebury College and the CVO of Steps and Stages Coaching, LLC. Brown received a BFA in Dance and a minor in Business from UNCG and her MFA in New Media Art and Technology from LIU. Brown is a native of Kinston, NC where while serving as her mother’s sidekick, she learned the mechanisms of cultural organizing and the organic synthesis of art and activism. Her path of self-discovery has been influenced by trailblazers such as Chuck Davis, Bill T. Jones, Andrea E. Woods, Liz Lerman, Bebe Miller, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Brown is a mover and a warrior of change and transformation. Brown combines her athleticism, creativity, love for people, and passion for teaching to create works that redefine the art of dance, the creation of identity and structures of power.