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Posted by on in News

by Bill Willson

Bill WillsonI am Bill Willson, President of Roberts Insurance Group, located on the island of Venice. It is my pleasure to serve as this year’s Vice President of the Venice MainStreet organization. Hopefully you are aware of this volunteer-driven, non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the historic character, beauty, community, and economic vitality of Historic downtown Venice.

My devout love for the area likely stems from a very long personal history of living in Sarasota County. After a brief, six-month stint in my birth place of New York City, my family moved to Sarasota County where I grew up, received my education, married, raised two daughters, and had only two employers during my long career here. I am married to another “almost native” Venice girl who grew up here on the island. To us, this is paradise, and fortunately we didn’t have to wait until after our working years to discover that.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to be “A Local,” a full-timer who bids farewell to many of my surrounding neighbors who are dear friends ending their annual migration South for the Winter about the end of March. I truly miss golfing and socializing with them, and I’m very appreciative of the many benefits they bring to our community. But, let’s be honest, have you ever said, “it’s too busy to go downtown now, let’s wait until after season?”

Are you in luck! Our friendly downtown shops and eateries want you to know “It’s Time for Lovin’ Our Locals.” Not that they don’t love you all year long, but they know they haven’t seen some of us for awhile. We want you to rediscover your downtown. To kick off welcoming you back, participating Venice MainStreet businesses are hosting a Wine Walk.

This first taste of welcome occurs on Thursday, April 21st between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. where participating stores will offer free wine while you shop and restaurants will have dining specials. To enjoy this free event, simply go to either the Burgundy Square Breezeway on Miami Ave. or the kiosk in Centennial Park to receive your wrist band, and a list of participating businesses.

This is the first of several opportunities presented by Venice MainStreet for “Lovin’ Our Locals” events designed to reacquaint you with Your Downtown. Don’t be a stranger. Our beloved snowbirds may have once again flown the coop, but that makes it a great time for our locals to flock downtown. Come enjoy what you love, quaint downtown Venice. You’re bound to find some sizzling hot deals for summer, and even some parking, too.

Visit these participating shops during the Wine Walk: Ciao Gelato, DanaTyler, Dick's Shoes, Down Island Way Boutique, Eyes on You, La Bella Interiors, Modern Woodmen of America, Shirt Stop, Sirena Island Day Spa, SunBug, Tarpon Bay Trading Co, Tommy's Fine Men's Consignment, Venice, In Vogue, Venice Wine & Coffee, Zak's Clothing Boutique.

Enjoy additional Wine Walk specials when you dine at: Café Venice, Ristorante San Marco, and Trattoria Da Mino.

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Tommy

Two years ago, what started out as a suggestion over dinner, Tommy’s Fine Men’s Consignment became a reality. Tommy Steckel opened his fine men’s consignment shop at 101 West Venice Avenue, where it remains today.

An entirely men’s consignment shop may be a new concept for the area, but it’s one that is catching on with the support from Venice MainStreet, the Venice Chamber of Commerce and local residents and businesses. Word of mouth, online and print advertising have brought business from as far north as the Tampa Bay area and as far south as Naples.

With over 40 years’ experience in designer and contemporary clothing and accessories, Tommy can help you with your men’s wear needs. Whether you are going to a black tie affair, social engagement, or just hanging out, you don’t have to break the bank to have a great outfit.

Tommy takes great pride in building relationships with both customers and consignors. When you visit this boutique shop, you will see some of the best men’s fashions at consignment prices. You will enjoy a fantastic selection of men’s clothing from some very recognizable names such as Tommy Bahama, Tori Richard, Polo, Robert Graham, Bugatchi and many more. He also has a selection of leather jackets, hats, travel accessories, sport jackets, jewelry and watches along with other men’s items.

Tommy has established partnerships with Agape Flights, Habitat for Humanity, The Bridge Church, Loveland Center and other local charities. His business is about more than helping men dress well; he wants to help spread well-being. Tommy is a firm believer of paying it forward. So, when the consignment period is over, the items go to these organizations to help others.

Discover a gentleman’s store that is a one-of-a-kind consignment establishment at 101 West Venice Avenue in downtown Venice. Their telephone number is 941-786-1850 or you can take a quick tour of the store at their website at www.tommysfinemensconsignment.com.

Tommy’s accepts new and gently worn clothing, accessories, and shoes for consignment by appointment. Call 941-786-1850.

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TracyHello, my name is Tracy and I'm a Venice MainStreet 'Downtowner' (a roving ambassador).  Venice MainStreet is dedicated to preserving, protecting, and promoting, Historic Downtown Venice. Let me show you around town!  Let's have a seat in Fountain Park and I'll tell you a little about Venice.  This park is one of several pocket parks that John Nolen and Prentiss French established while designing the City.  Venice was first settled in 1870 by Robert Rickford Roberts (Roberts Bay).  In 1884, Frank Higel bought part of Roberts' holdings and established a citrus operation.  Venice was originally called Horse and Chaise but was changed to Venice when the settlers applied for a post office designation.  In 1911, Bertha Honore Palmer moved to the area and lobbied for the railroad line to extend to Venice.  Dr. Fred Albee, a well-known orthopedic surgeon, hired John Nolen in 1925 to design a city plan for Venice.  In 1931, the Kentucky Military Institute (KMI) settled on Venice as its winter headquarters and was part of the Venice community until 1970.  World War II brought the construction of the Venice Army Air Base to train fighter pilots and ground crewmen.  It is now the Venice Municipal Airport.  The Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus came to town in 1960 to establish their winter headquarters until 1992.  The Army Corps of Engineers dredged the Intracoastal Waterway connecting Roberts and Lemon Bay, finishing in 1967.  The canal created an artificial island of downtown Venice to the Gulf that can only be reached by bridges.  Well, that's enough history.  If you are still interested stop by the Venice Museum & Archives on Nassau Street.  Come on, we'll walk around a bit before lunch.  Over at the Merchants of Venice building you can pick up spices or sign up for a cooking class, or get your favorite piece of art framed.  Here on Miami Avenue, are several shops where you can purchase everything from coastal items to bamboo sheets and linens.  You can also enjoy a glass of wine or eat at the restaurants.  Miami Avenue is where Venice MainStreet hosts crafts fairs during the year.  Over on Tampa Avenue, we have the KMI building which has various shops and memorabilia from its days as dorms and class rooms for the Kentucky Military Institute’s cadets.  Also on Tampa, is the Venice Theater which has twice hosted the International Association of Community Theaters.  Saturday mornings the Farmer's Market is held here.  On Venice Avenue, we have art festivals in March and November and shops, restaurants, oh my, we have a something for everybody!  There are also free concerts at the gazebo in Centennial Park and the Sun Fiesta with bed races down Venice Avenue.  And parades; Halloween, Holiday and boat parades and the Eggstravaganza at Easter.  So much more.  Don't forget the beach!  Well, I'd say we had a pretty full day and only scratched the surface.  You'll have to come back soon and enjoy all that Venice has to offer.

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Emilio PictureVenice MainStreet, Venice’s proud promoter of preservation and economic vitality for all things Downtown Venice, has named Emilio Carlesimo, former City of Venice Councilmember, to head an extensive membership initiative for the organization. 


Founded in 1987, Venice MainStreet is a volunteer driven organization that is accredited through Florida and National Main Street Programs. VMS is united with over 1,000 other Main Street Communities across the country.

In coordination with Venice MainStreet mission, Emilio will steward the way to enlist more downtown merchants on the “Avenues”, business owners outside the downtown district, and ask for community memberships to form a more united Historic Downtown Venice.

Emilio and his wife Brenda Lee Carlesimo have lived in Venice 28 years. Elected to City Council in 2009, Emilio served two three year terms. He is currently a member of Epiphany Cathedral Catholic Church, serves on the Board of Trustees of Venice Regional Bayfront Health, as well as serves on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. Emilio is a retired Firefighter from the Detroit Fire Department after 28 years of service and a 13 year veteran of the Sarasota County Fire Department.

“Emilio’s commitment to Venice makes him the perfect candidate for the role of Membership Committee Chair,” says Erin Silk, Executive Director of Venice MainStreet. She adds, “Emilio has an enthusiasm for the preservation and promotion of our beautiful downtown that is obvious when he communicates the mission of Venice MainStreet.”

Venice MainStreet membership is comprised of supporting business members and community members. With a long list of yearly events and promotional activities, as well as the constant beautification efforts of the Avenues, the supporting members play a huge role in the prosperity of downtown.

So next time you see Emilio around town ask him about how you too can support Historic Downtown Venice through a yearly membership and help keep the magic of Venice alive.

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Venice MainStreet has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach®.

"We congratulate this year's nationally accredited Main Street programs for their outstanding accomplishment in meeting the National Main Street Center's 10 Standards of Performance," says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. "As the National Main Street Center celebrates its 35thAnniversary, it is also important to celebrate the achievements of the local Main Street programs across the country, some of whom have been around since the beginning. These local programs work hard every day to make their communities great places to work, live, play and visit while still preserving their historic character."

The organization's performance is annually evaluated by the Florida Main Street Program, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program's application of the Main Street Four Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

"We are proud of our longevity of accreditation with the National Main Street Program and we look forward to a strong partnership for years to come. Venice MainStreet has been an accredited Main Street Program since 1987. We are proud of the success Venice has seen due to this partnership," says Erin Silk, Venice MainStreet Executive Director. She continues, "We look forward to pressing on with our mission of enhancing the quality of life in our community by preserving, protecting, and promoting historic downtown Venice."

Established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. Working in more than 2,000 downtowns and urban neighborhoods over the last 35 years, the Main Street program has leveraged more than $61.7 billion in new public and private investment. Participating communities have created 528,557 net new jobs and 120,510 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 251,838 buildings, leveraging an average of $26.52 in new investment for every dollar spent on their Main Street district revitalization efforts.

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Posted by on in News

28th Annual Downtown Venice Art Fest
November 7& 8, 2015

  Official Poster Design Contest

  Venice MainStreet, Inc. is holding a contest for the 28th Annual Downtown Venice Art Fest official poster design.  The artist selected by the Design Committee will be awarded $500 for their design, along with a booth at the festival ($500 value, for a prize package worth $1,000).  The winning design will be featured as the official poster, which will be showcased on merchandise* and in advertising**.  The winner will be expected to be available for an unveiling event on the evening of Wednesday, November 4, 2015.

  

Guidelines:

 

  • ·Original (unframed) artwork must be delivered to Collector’s Gallery and Framery (114 South Nokomis Avenue) by 5pm on Saturday, September 19, 2015.
  • ·The winner must also submit a high-resolution editable, working digital file (for poster and merchandise production).
  • ·Finished poster size will be 22 x 28 (original does not need to be the same size).
  • ·Image must include at least one of the Venice bridges. (Copy that will be incorporated into the poster/merchandise will include “28th Annual Downtown Venice Art Fest”).

 

*there is a possibility that the design will be showcased on other merchandise, along with the t-shirts.

 **the design will be utilized in advertising done by Venice MainStreet, Inc.  Any advertising done by Howard Alan Events may not include the design.

 

About the Downtown Venice Art Fest

Celebrating its 28th year in 2015, the Downtown Venice Art Fest is one of the area’s largest and finest art fairs.   Thousands of visitors kick-off season with this Howard Alan event that takes place along Venice Avenue in beautiful, historic downtown Venice.    For more information, please call Venice MainStreet at 941.484.6722.  Find out more about Howard Alan Events at www.artfestival.com.

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Venice MainStreet and Venice Blue's Festival donated $3,000 to the Venice High School Band.
 
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Venice MainStreet President, Tracy Ivey, presents a check to Jonathan Case, Venice High School Band Teacher. The donation of $3,000 was for the participation of Venice High School students in the 2013 and 2014 Venice Blue's Festival.
 
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Posted by on in News

Greetings from the Voice of Venice. Our new website has been up for a while, but there was a challenge with the Blog. It is now go go go. This will be the place for pretty pictures, reminders and info on upcoming events and the background scoop on downtown Venice. If you missed the VMS Arts & Crafts Festival this past week end, it was a great show. The humidity was down and the crowds were up. The rains held off, so everybody was happy. This was the first two days at work for Venice MainStreet's new Executive Director Cat. Yes, she has a last name which I keep forgetting. She has promised to post something soon telling about herself and posting a picture so we can all recognize her to call out a how-de-doo, welcome neighbor. VMS and Cat have all kinds of ideas for VMS downtown. If you're looking for a good place to volunteer, now is the time. If you have info to share about downtown, please send to Cat at Venice MainStreet. I'll be back real soon.

 

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venicearch.jpgWelcome to the first blog from the Voice of Venice. The Voice will be presenting information on downtown Venice and Venice MainStreet. Venice MainStreet is a 501c3 non profit organization dedicated to the Beautification, Historic Preservation, Economic and Community Vitality of our beautiful, downtown area. We will be covering community events that happen downtown, historic preservation activities and community improvements. Expect to hear about businesses opening, closing, moving or expanding. There will be some community profiles done on persons of interest to us. Business stories on new projects or merchandise lines may be profiled. Plus I hope to be sharing many photographs, not only ours, but some of yours. This will be the place to share wonderful stories and photographs. We hope to become a Voice you’ll want to share and enjoy.

Please let us know if there is something you’d like to see us communicate in the future. Our goal is to have you take as much pleasure in our historic downtown as we do. Join us to learn all sorts of things about our home towns down town. Is anyone humming Petulia Clark’s big hit yet.” Downtown, everything’s waiting for you.”

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