This is the first of three brief reports for new and existing readers of Businews during May to December last year.

Space limits reduces the content to selected items but in simple terms it was again a growth year for the Venice area as existing businesses continued hiring. Following many years in business changes occurred downtown with new owners acquiring existing business.

This series starts with the second quarter of 2018 when Venice goes quiet as the snowbirds fly north. Merchants, specifically downtown, wish to forget the summer of 2018 as they struggled to survive through months of major roadworks and red tide.

MAY

Perkin’s Restaurant closed temporarily for a complete renovation and partial rebuild due to future expansion of the U.S. 41 Bypass; Fake sounding call turned into $10,000 donation for Loveland center; Second Marriott Hotel planned for Executive Drive at Jacaranda; Nokomis Coffee Breeze Drive Thru opened next to former Saltwater Café in Nokomis Village Shoppes; Custom Golf Carts opened on U.S. 41 Bypass next to Budget Rent A Car; New York investor bought the downtown Tandem Center; $1.1 million ship is a new Freedom Boat Club rental; West Coast Realty opened little showroom at South Jetty; Downtown Fifi’s moved around the corner; Local Burgundy Square Café competed in World Lobster Roll Championship; Dick’s Shoes quickly reopened on Venice Avenue; New Café Venice coming; Simply Trees team expanded; Restaurants close, La Esquina Columbian on E. Venice Ave. and Nokomis Crabhouse & Seafood.

JUNE

Major downtown road project delayed; Employees of PGT became shareholders; Venice Media Group, U.S. Mart and Spot On Tailoring moved to make way for Café; Venice Hospital volunteers offered free lifeline; World War II veteran surprised with Rotary Flags Across Venice Nokomis project; Local developer Pat Neal and his wife donated $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs; Caliber Home Loans opened office; Freedom Boat Club announced opening of Freedom RVing; North Port branch of Habitat ReStore closed, all to be handled by Venice ReStore. TJ Carney’s restaurant hostess for 16 years, Barbara Isaacson retired at 85; Old K-Mart location to get a Lucky’s Market; China Tokyo restaurant opened in Bird Bay offering sit down buffet and dinner services and Save-A-Lot supermarket closed in Bird Bay Plaza.

JULY

Tangi & Jess Art Gallery & Home Decorations reopened in new Pinkerton Plaza on West Venice Avenue: Luxury bus service, OurBus started offering point-to-point services: Designer Sean Chan launched the powered scooter, Mini UniBolt, a single small wheel scooter; Near TJ Maxx, Project Give Thrift Store opened staffed by youth volunteers; New owner acquired Norma Jeans Sports Bar & Grill in the Shoppes at Casey Key in Osprey; Land sold destined for 100’s more condos on Jacaranda Boulevard just east of Winn Dixie in the Pines Shopping Center; Medicine is in the genes for Dr. Richard Beebe’s family of whom 4 are doctors; Burgundy Square Café fourth in the 2018 World Lobster Roll Championship in Portland, Maine; Clean Machines opens sells, repairs pressure washing equipment; Dick’s Shoes on West Venice Avenue debuts ‘Albert’ foot scanner and Verjavu, An Extraordinary Fashion Moment opened on W. Venice Ave. with concept of fashion Feng Shu.

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