Thank You, Downtown Volunteers!

Thank You, Downtown Volunteers!

Venice MainStreet’s volunteer team of Downtown Ambassadors has been hard at work at the Centennial Park information kiosk this year helping locals and tourists get information on events and downtown businesses. Maps, directories and other helpful materials have been flying off the shelves!

In January and February, these volunteers totaled 100+ hours of kiosk time. Look for their smiling faces and stop by to say hello Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11am to 2pm, 200 W. Venice Ave, Venice, Florida 34285. To learn more about volunteering opportunities with Venice MainStreet CLICK HERE.

Thank you, Venice MainStreet Team!
Jo Ann Byrne
Joe & Pat Colonnese
Tobe Cookingham
Syd & Margo Emmons
Arlene Ferrick
Joan Gardner
Hank Gesek
Larry & Tracy Ivey
Joyce Puglio
Sheila Reardon
Jerry Rehert
Melinda Schell
Harry & Gail Thompson
Mary Vlismas
Dee Wright

Venice MainStreet Appears on Suncoast View ABC7

Venice MainStreet Appears on Suncoast View ABC7

Kara Morgan, CEO of Venice MainStreet, was invited back for her ninth appearance on ABC7’s Suncoast View to showcase downtown Venice and several of our partner stores. The show aired this week on March 3rd.

Spring is in the air and was definitely reflected in the colorful fashions, accessories and fun gifts on display from Patchington, Gulf Soles, Waves of Light Mystical Boutique, Venice in Vogue, and Kristine Grace Resort Wear. Watch the video HERE.
Photo credit: Suncoast View, ABC7 WWSB


136 W. Venice Ave # 138

Gulf Soles
209 Miami Ave. W.

Waves of Light Mystical Boutique
101 W. Venice Ave #17

Venice in Vogue
310 W Venice Ave Suite 102

Kristine Grace Resort Wear
213 W. Venice Ave.

2020 Venice MainStreet Programs and Projects

Despite the challenges of reduced staff hours, as a result of the financial impact of COVID-19 on our organization, we still managed to accomplish a great deal in 2020, along with our 18 downtown district events.

– Created COVID-19 resource page on to assist local businesses
– Distributed thousands of masks in partnership with the City of Venice
– Collaborated with the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce on COVID-19 safety plan signs and Positivity Wall project

– Created 16 new website pages for to provide in depth content
– Digitized past art festival posters and uploaded to

– Implemented “Looking forward to your safe return” marketing campaign
– Offered over 60 free Venice Gondolier Sun advertisements to partners
– Advertised in Venice Gulf Coast Living and Venice Lifestyle magazines
– Highlighted downtown Venice and 11 business partners in 4 Suncoast View television spots

– Published 53 newsletters sharing information on thousands of events and partner announcements
– Posted 69 news blogs on
– Posted 1,282 community events on 2020 calendar
– Created district and partner-focused content for 12 full pages in the Venice Gondolier Sun, published bi-monthly
– Created and published 20,000 copies of the printed Venice MainStreet directory
– Continued funding Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport “Venice Is” advertising mural
– Managed content and promotions on downtown LED gateway arch sign
– Managed Downtown Ambassadors volunteer program and information kiosk
– Managed content on our social media platforms and purchased Facebook ads

– Updated downtown historic walking tour webpage on
– Wrote letters of support for Old Betsy fire turck storage/exhibit building and 233 Pensacola Road historic house preservation

– Promoted VMS and downtown district by giving talks to Venice Citizens Academy; Venice Gardens Civic Association; Business and Professional Women of Englewood and Venice; and Visit Sarasota groups

– Launched downtown Fairy Door project, website and Facebook page
– Partnered with the City of Venice to install 3 alleyway signs for Calle de las Tiendas
– Held call to artists and judged 2020 Venice Art Festival poster contest
– Funded additional downtown holiday lighting and Venice Area Garden Club decorations
– Held downtown holiday window decorating contest and awarded 6 winners

Venice MainStreet’s Friday Night Gazebo Concert Series

January 10- Josh Reilly Trio
January 24- Johnny Rawls
February 14 – Patchouli and Terra Guitarra
February 28 – Wendy Barmore
March 13 – Matthew Mayes and Forrest Shafer
November 13- Cryin’ Shames
November 27- Blues to Blackstreet
December 11- Sounds of Christmas

Gazebo Starlight Cinema in partnership with Venice Institute for the Performing Arts
January 3- Percy Jackson and the Olympians
February 7- X-Men
March 6- The Sand Lot

Venice MainStreet’s Signature Events
– 13th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival in partnership with Howard Alan Events, January 25-26
– Braves on Miami Ave.: Mardi Gras Style in partnership with Atlanta Braves, February 8
– Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Crawl, February 25
– 19th Annual Venice Art Classic in partnership with Howard Alan Events, March 7-8
– Christmas in July, July 17-18
– Shoptember Sidewalk Sale, September 4-5
– Classic Evenings on the Avenues, October 8
– Classic Evenings on the Avenues, October 22
– Chocolate Walk, November 19
– Christmas Walk, December 3

Welcome 2021 Board of Directors

Welcome 2021 Board of Directors

Venice MainStreet held its annual meeting via Zoom on January 28th. We are so grateful for the work of outgoing 2020 president, Ronnie Fernandez, and the 2020 board and look forward to working with Sandra Di Pentima, our 2021 president, and the new board this year. For a copy of Venice MainStreet’s 2020 Annual Report CLICK HERE.

Thank you 2020 Board:
President Ronnie Fernandez, CenterState Bank
Vice President Sandra Di Pentima, Fifth Third Bank
Treasurer Brad Patton, FourThought Private Wealth
Secretary Patrick Carney, Navamaze Senior Living Solutions
Andrew Britton, Britton Law Group
Kathy Crisman, Dick’s Shoes of Venice
Nick Flerlage, Flerlage Team
Jeannie Gomes, Hotel Venezia
Tracy Ivey, Volunteer
Rod Nafziger, Ciao Gelato
Bill Willson, Roberts Insurance Group

Welcome 2021 Board:
President Sandra Di Pentima, Fifth Third Bank
Vice President Brad Patton, FourThought Private Wealth
Treasurer Tracy Silver, Venice Wine & Coffee Company
Secretary Patrick Carney, Navamaze Senior Living Solutions
Andrew Britton, Britton Law Group
Robert Daniels, Volunteer
Ronnie Fernandez, CenterState Bank
Nick Flerlage, Flerlage Team
Jeannie Gomes, Hotel Venezia
James Haas, Sunbug and Twist Boutique
Cindy Lodge, Volunteer
Rod Nafziger, Volunteer
Bill Willson, Volunteer

Welcome New Venice MainStreet Partner, Aqua Silks Studio

Welcome New Venice MainStreet Partner, Aqua Silks Studio

Looking for a fun, creative experience for yourself or with a group of friends? You can design your own silks at Aqua Silks Studio to create scarves, home decor and accessories. During this interactive art experience, where you paint on water, you will learn everything you need to know and leave with your art captured on silk. Book your studio session today and unleash the artist within (no experience necessary)!

Aqua Silks Studio is located in downtown Venice, next to Cafe Venice and behind Bonnell’s Boutique & Winery, at 101 West Venice Ave., Suite 8, Venice, FL 34285. Call 941-661-0057 or email for more information. Click for website:

Welcome New Venice MainStreet Partner, ServisFirst Bank

Welcome New Venice MainStreet Partner, ServisFirst Bank

ServisFirst Bank, a subsidiary of ServisFirst Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFBS), announces its growth in Southwest Florida with the opening of a new full service banking location (drive-thru, ATM) and the hiring of three new, local bankers, continuing their footprint of business operations in Florida. Brent Dykstra will serve as the Community Executive and Joe Cataldo will be Vice President, Branch Manager for this new Venice branch. Also joining the team is Suzanne Johnson as Assistant Branch Manager and Robert Rowe as Commercial Support Manager. The Venice office is 2,300-square-feet and located at 247 Tamiami Trail South.

“The Venice market makes perfect sense for our first full-service banking location in Sarasota County. We have a 20-year veteran in Brent Dykstra who was recently promoted to Venice Community Executive and his team looks forward to serving the community and surrounding areas,” stated Mario Bringas, President, Southwest Florida for ServisFirst Bank.

The team will continue the growth of ServisFirst Bank’s commercial banking group in Southwest Florida through its extensive business and banking experience, building service-oriented relationships with owner-managed companies and professionals, and providing responsive and superior service.

Brent Dykstra, Community Executive
Brent Dykstra will be moving into the role of Community Executive from his previous position as Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Banker of ServisFirst Bank Southwest Florida. Dykstra previously served as the Senior Vice President and Commercial Banker for Synovus Bank in Sarasota, Florida, where he was responsible for business development, originating and processing commercial loans, and managing loan portfolios. Prior to Synovus Bank, Dykstra served as the Assistant Vice President and Community Banking Relationship Manager for Florida Community Bank after beginning his career as a Consumer Loan Officer at the Community National Bank of Sarasota County in Venice, FL.

Dykstra is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University where he obtained a Bachelor of Art degree in Business Management and is a graduate of the Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking. Further Dykstra is a Board member of the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota, and serves on the Board as Treasury for a local non-profit, Royal Venice, Inc.

Joe Cataldo, Vice President, Branch Manager
Joe Cataldo has been with ServisFirst Bank Venice as Vice President, Branch Manager since October 2020. Prior to joining ServisFirst Bank, Cataldo served as the Vice President, Manager for First Horizon Bank for four years in Venice, FL. Cataldo also spent 14 years in retail banking throughout the Venice/Englewood area. His exceptional banking relationship experience adds unmatched value to his clients as he serves as a true partner to help grow their business.

Cataldo is currently enrolled in Purdue University where he is working to obtain his Bachelors of Art degree in Business Management Additionally, Cataldo has expertise in customer experience management, leadership and coaching, and maintains business partnerships within the community. He is a member of the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Club in Englewood, FL and serves on the board of the Englewood Area Youth Baseball Program.

For more information on ServisFirst Bank, please visit or contact Krista Conlin at Branch phone: 941-236-9130.

New Venice MainStreet President, Sandra Di Pentima

New Venice MainStreet President, Sandra Di Pentima

By Sandra Di Pentima

Happy New Year! I am proud to serve as President of Venice MainStreet, Incorporated for the 2021 year.

As we move into this new year, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the outgoing Board President, Ronnie Fernandez, and the 2020 Board of Directors for their dedication, service and leadership over the past year, as well as to all of our extraordinary volunteers for giving of their time and talents to make the best of 2020, despite the challenges.

As I look ahead to the upcoming year, I am encouraged by the perseverance and resilience of the people of this community, that we can face and overcome whatever challenges that may be presented. Through the collective efforts of our Board and volunteers, I am confident we will continue to fulfill MainStreet’s mission of ensuring historic preservation and economic vitality for this great City of Venice.

Thank you for allowing me to serve alongside you this year. I truly appreciate your support and encourage you to share any feedback and ideas you may have as we work together to make the best of 2021.

KMI Exhibit Opens at Historic San Marco

KMI Exhibit Opens at Historic San Marco

Visitors to the historic San Marco on Tampa Avenue can now enjoy a new exhibit honoring the legacy of the Kentucky Military Institute (KMI) in Venice. Funded by the KMI Alumni Association, in partnership with the Venice Centre Association and its collection, the exhibit includes memorabilia, photographs and a documentary on the fascinating history of the military school in Venice from 1933 to 1970. 

While you are at the San Marco, you can also explore the 15+ varied businesses located in this unique, downtown Venice building. Among them include salons, spas, a barbershop, real estate and property rental companies, chiropractor, retailers such as the new Tri-Healthy CBD store, a restaurant and more. If you haven’t discovered the San Marco yet or been in it recently, you are in for a treat! Learn more about this beautiful historic building: CLICK HERE.

The 2020 Holiday Season is Bright in Downtown Venice

The 2020 Holiday Season is Bright in Downtown Venice

Downtown has a little more sparkle this year. Venice MainStreet collaborated with the City of Venice and funded additional holiday lights and decorations in the downtown district. More lights were added to Miami Avenue and Tampa Avenue; two oaks in Centennial Park were highlighted as feature elements; and decorations were installed on the Centennial Park gazebo and information kiosk. Venice MainStreet also funded decorations installed by the Venice Area Garden Club on Miami Avenue and in Centennial Park. We are hoping to keep the season bright for residents and visitors. To donate in support this and other Venice MainStreet efforts, go to

Photo credit: Nikki Callegari,