It is gratifying to see that despite all the problems of the past 10 months downtown in the historic district as a store closes another business opens up a short time later.

For example, Verjavu at 100 W. Venice Ave., closed and has been replaced by Venice Island Gallery, which moved from 219 W. Venice Ave.

The Spice & Tea Exchange at 101 W. Venice Ave., closed to relocate to Punta Gorda and the property has been leased by Kay Ann Kropac, owner of Café Venice.

Asked what her plans were for the unit, she said, “I only got it three days ago; it is going to be something, but have no confirmed plans.” The location adjoins her recently opened new location of Café Venice.

Ladies encourage others to eat and shop downtownMembers of the local Philanthropic Educational Organization Chapter have chosen to have their summer luncheons visiting restaurants on Venice island. It is a way to assist restaurant owners and retail stores following the problematic summer of 2018, with road work and red tide.

“It is to help and encourage other groups to do the same,” said Betty Ehik of Celebration Corner. “In June we met at Abby’s on Miami; July will be at St. Marco Ristorante; August at the Upper Crust Bakery; and in September at Cassariano Italian Eatery.”

A smaller PEO group meets at various locations all year round. Off-season it is easier to park and fun to shop. Ehik added that they can walk to the new Venice mural on her store, take photos and be among the first to send them to family and friends.

Barstool OpenVenice MainStreet hosts the Barstool Open on June 29 from noon to 6 p.m. Teams of four play putt-putt golf through 12 holes in various businesses throughout West Tampa, Venice and Miami avenues. Tickets are $20 at Made In Italy or online: A total of 105 teams and 420 spots are available.

Hole venues are Café Venice, TJ Carney’s, Cote France, Daiquiri Deck, Venice Wine & Coffee, Burgundy Square Café, Made in Italy, Mature Image Barbershop, Old Venice Pub, Simply Trees at Mother’s Cupboard, The Parlor Barbershop and Venice Museum & Archives at the Centennial Park gazebo.

Participants will receive two vouchers for beer provided by Michelob Ultra. There will be prizes for the first-place winners. Sponsors include Michelob Ultra, 92.1 CTQ-FM and the Venice Gondolier Sun. Call 941-484-6722 or visit

Coffee and CarsThis Saturday, June 15, from 8 to 11 a.m. at CoolToday Park in West Villages is a Coffee and Cars event. Come and check out the classic cars on display and share a cup of coffee with neighbors at this fun, social event for all ages. It will be held in the red, main parking lot, and is free to the public.

Very successful eventThanks to the Venice Gondolier Sun, the Kids Giveaway was a great success at Project Give Thrift Boutique, 478 North U.S. 41 Bypass, bringing in many young families, children and many new returning costumers, reported Emmalee Brown, Gifts for Kids event co-coordinator.

Seagrass SurveyThis Saturday, June 15, is Sarasota County’s Seagrass Survey, a free, fun, family-friendly event providing everyone a hands-on opportunity to learn about seagrass habitat. Registered volunteers take to Sarasota Bay waters to count and identify seagrass species.

Registration is required; following the survey will be a free festival with live music and food trucks, nature-themed games, crafts and educational booths to enjoy until 2 p.m. Call 941-861-5000.

Editor’s note: Service and product information in this column should not be taken as an endorsement of the business. Send your new business opening, an expansion, a relocation or other significant event to


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