COLAB Fostering a Collaborative Community

COLAB Fostering a Collaborative Community

Opening its doors just a few weeks ago in Venice, the COLAB coworking space is ushering in a new era of opportunities for individuals trying to start a new business, freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals. Conveniently located on Miami Avenue, COLAB is a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs, providing a spectrum of communication services—web development, social marketing, photography, business cards, logos, signs, and other business literature—as well as a sleek, professional coworking space with state of the art technology.

Andre Carrero of the Venice Sign Shop, creator of the COLAB space along with Ken Wagner of Shine Media, says “we want to be the Mercedes-Benz of the communication world for entrepreneurs. Many new entrepreneurs can’t afford infrastructure start-up costs, but with COLAB they can look like a Fortune 500 company without the headaches and high costs.” It is hard for Carrero—a challenge-seeker by nature—to contain his enthusiasm and energy when describing his vision for COLAB. Looking to tap into the growing creative, artistic community in the Venice area and the changing demographics in Southwest Florida, he is passionate about “bringing collaboration to communities and seeks to nurture a new generation of entrepreneurs, hoping to be a part of their success stories.”

COLAB offers a variety of membership options to meet your business needs as well as a host of networking opportunities to grow your network. Among the many perks, members can receive 24 hour key access to the coworking space, private parking, a downtown Venice mailing address, placement in COLAB’s website directory, and access to freshly brewed coffee and cold drinks all day long. For more information or to view their spaces, contact COLAB, 250 Miami Avenue West, at 941-786-1596 or visit colabvenice.com. The office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

‘Tis the Season for… Christmas in July!

‘Tis the Season for… Christmas in July!

Venice MainStreet, Venice’s proud advocate of preservation and economic vitality for all things Downtown Venice, brings you Christmas in July 2019. Don’t miss the biggest two-day shopping spree of the year for bargains, discounts and ideas for Christmas and all your holiday gift needs.
This event started with a small group of business owners over 10 years ago and this year the stores on “the Avenues” will celebrate from 10am to 5pm on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20. Participating stores will offer entry forms for a chance to win one of several gift baskets totaling as much as $1,000 containing gifts and certificates donated by various downtown merchants. Many stores will continue the holiday cheer until 7pm on Friday.
Shoppers can ride the free Christmas Trolley, sponsored by Gulf Shores Realty, the Venice Gondolier Sun and 92.1 WCTQ, winding past the shops on the avenues downtown. Santa and Mrs. Claus will ride the trolley along with women from the Venice-Nokomis Women’s Club. They will be handing out sale flyers and cold water to the riders. You may be lucky enough to sit next to Santa himself and tell him want you want for Christmas. He’ll be seen riding along with Mrs. Claus between 11am and 4pm on both days.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will stop for lunch at Abby’s on Miami, 220 W. Miami Ave, on Friday at 12:30pm. Saturday they will have lunch at Bodrum Mediterranean Restaurant, 225 W. Miami Ave, at 12:30pm. On Saturday, July 20, Santa will take a ride on Venice’s own 100’ Ladder Truck courtesy of the fine first responders of the Venice Fire Department, down to the Venice Farmer’s Market on Avenues Des Parques in front of City Hall. Santa will enjoy the Venice Farmer’s Market before hopping on the trolley at 11am. You will find the Participating Merchant’s List on the Trolley and in stores during the two-day event.
We are proud to announce the stores and restaurants that are participating in this iconic event: B&B Bootery, Bodrum Mediterranean Restaurant, Bonnell’s Boutique and Winery, Cafe Venice, Captain’s Landing, Celebration Corner, Ciao Gelato, Cote France, Crate & Marrow, Croissant & Co, Crow’s Nest, Daiquiri Deck, Dana Tyler, Dick’s Shoes, Down Island Way Boutique, DP Fitness and Wellness, Elephants Trunk, Freedom Boat Club, Heitel Jewelers, Island Gift Nook, Laurie Jean & Co., Lisa’s Classic Rose, Luxurious Interiors, Mother’s Cupboard, Nana’s: A Children’s Shop, Needlefish Yarns of Venice, Patchington, Scarlet Macaw, Shirt Stop, Sirene Coastal Interiors, Southeast Salt, St. Marco Boutique, SunBug, Tangi & Jess, TJ Carney’s, Twist Boutique, Venice Avenue Creamery, Venice In Vogue, Venice Olive Oil, Venice Stationers, Venice Trading Co, Venice Wine & Coffee. A special thank you to Venice Wine and Coffee for volunteering to put the beautiful gift baskets together.
For more information, keep checking our website www.visitvenicefl.org or contact the Venice MainStreet office at 941-484-6722 or info@venicemainstreet.com.

The Beautification of Historic Downtown Venice is Complete!

The Beautification of Historic Downtown Venice is Complete!

The beautification of historic downtown Venice is complete. The roads are paved and open. The sidewalks are wide and inviting. New trees, potted plants and hanging flower baskets adorn the avenues adding charm and a pop of color.

Venice MainStreet, Inc. is lucky to have a home in the 100 block of West Venice Avenue and the staff has the pleasure to be a part of historic downtown interacting with visitors. The month of June has been a wonderful rejuvenation and we have seen an increase in foot traffic. This past weekend, June 15 and 16, the craft festival and farmers market saw an increase in attendance of 30%, stated by Lee Perron with the Venice Farmers Market. Venice MainStreet CEO, Kara Morgan, encourages everyone to come and see the improvements and spend the day in Venice. “There is something for everyone here; varieties of restaurants, stores and services,” said Morgan. “There is also the opportunity to spend time outdoors with family and children in Centennial Park, the Intergenerational Children’s Fountain and of course our brand new interactive art mural on the corner of Nassau St and W Venice Ave.”

City Engineer Kathleen Weeden added, “We want to thank the voters who passed the road bond referendum in 2016, as well as the Florida Department of Transportation and the state Legislature, which provided funds along with the 1-cent sales tax to complete this important project. This combined funding effort allowed us to do major improvements. We worked hard to keep the charm of downtown while rehabilitating the infrastructure so it will last for decades. Come see this beautiful gem!”

The City of Venice is celebrating all of the accomplishments of the beautification on July 8th at 11am with a short ceremony in Centennial Park, followed by a ribbon cutting on West Venice Avenue to officially present the downtown improvements to the citizens and visitors of the city. The City of Venice welcomes the public to be a part of the celebration. We can’t wait to see you in Venice!

Second Annual Barstool Open on the Horizon

Second Annual Barstool Open on the Horizon

Venice MainStreet is hosting the Second Annual Barstool Open on June 29th from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. Teams of four will play putt-putt golf through 12 holes located in various businesses throughout Tampa, Venice and Miami Avenues. The cost is $20 per person and tickets can be purchased at Made In Italy or online: visitvenicefl.org/product/barstool.

This year there will be 105 teams, totaling 420 available spots. Those who are interested in joining can sign up as doubles or as a team of four. If participants sign up with less than four, they will be placed in a randomly-made team of two doubles. This event will have a shotgun start where everyone will start simultaneously at their assigned location.

Holes will be placed at Burgundy Square Cafe, Cafe Venice, Coté France, Daiquiri Deck, Made In Italy, Mature Image Barbershop, Old Venice Pub, Mother’s Cupboard, The Parlor Barbershop, TJ Carney’s, Venice Wine & Coffee and Venice Museum & Archives whose hole will be located at the Centennial Park Gazebo.

Participants can check in early on Friday, June 28th from 4-7pm at Daiquiri Deck to receive their packets or they can check in on the day of the event at the Centennial Park Gazebo between 10am and 12pm. Participants will receive two vouchers for beer provided by Michelob Ultra in their packet.
The prizes for the first place winners of the open are still being finalized, but they will also receive the coveted Golden Putter traveling trophy. Various other prizes will be handed out continuously throughout the day for numerous contests. Prizes include a Mermaid Vodka gift basket and a Jack Daniels gift, along with other fantastic prizes.

Sponsors include Michelob Ultra, 92.1 CTQ-FM and the Venice Gondolier. For more information, to purchase tickets, or to sponsor the event please visit our website www.visitvenicefl.org or contact the Venice MainStreet office at 941-484-6722 or info@venicemainstreet.com.

   
   

Greetings from New CEO, Kara Morgan

Greetings from New CEO, Kara Morgan

Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I extend this greeting to you and recognized the privilege I have been given to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of Venice MainStreet. MainStreet is proud to have served our community since 1987, and has rapidly met the growing needs of the community through high quality marketing, special projects, and preservation efforts. It has become a leader in the State of Florida Main Street Districts. For these reasons, and my passion for Venice as a resident for four years, I am thrilled to be joining this team.

The work done by Venice MainStreet, its partners, and friends has impact. As we get to know one another, I will demonstrate that the work we now share is not only professional, but also personal. Preservation and beautification of historic downtown Venice are critical to the character and vitality of this area. These assets, which lie at the heart of our mission are critical tools for remaining a destination, place of business, and home.  

As part of our commitment to our community, and with the help and support of our staff, board of directors and volunteers, we continue to expand our services, receive numerous accolades and recognitions. Although Venice MainStreet appreciates these awards, we are most honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve the community.

Our focus now is to continue to distinguish historic downtown Venice as a leader in the MainStreet community. We’re committed to continuously search for new ways to improve our quality and make Venice the best place for visitors, residents, and business owners to live, work and play. On behalf of your Venice MainStreet staff, I extend our sincere thanks for all your support. This is a proud day for me and I look forward to learning from all of you and working alongside you.

Sincerely,

Kara Morgan
Chief Executive Officer
Venice MainStreet, Inc.

Summer Events are Starting to Heat Up

Summer Events are Starting to Heat Up

The 27th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival will be on Saturday, June 15th and Sunday, June 16th from 10am-4pm. Located in Historic Downtown Venice, this event follows the popular March Art Classic. Some of the nation’s best crafters will converge along Miami Avenue, one of Venice’s popular downtown streets. Peruse booths filled with stained glass, photography, personalized products for both children and dogs alike, and much more! Stroll the Green Market for plants, handmade soaps, tangy BBQ sauces and live orchids.
Back by popular demand, the 2nd Annual Barstool Open will take place Saturday, June 29, 2019. Put on your knickers and your golf shirts and get ready to putt your way through Historic Downtown Venice! Teams of 2 or 4 will putt-putt through 9+ fun holes in their favorite downtown spots while participating in wacky competitions and enjoying great specials. We’re adding more holes, more games and tons of great prizes! The cost is $20 per person which includes 2 complimentary beer vouchers. You must be 21 or older to participate in this event.
Tickets for the Barstool Open can be purchased at www.visitvenicefl.org/product/barstoolopen. If you prefer not to purchase online, you can also purchase tickets at the Venice MainStreet office located at 101 West Venice Ave, Suite 23.
Come July, you can forget your stresses and get in the spirit at the Downtown Venice “Christmas in July” event on July 19th and 20th from 10am-5pm. Get a jump on your Christmas shopping while you catch Santa and Mrs. Claus riding the trolley and visiting the shops. Attendees can ride the trolley on both days from 11am to 4pm. We will also be raffling off large gift baskets and you can pick up your free raffle tickets at many of the participating downtown businesses. The raffle drawing will be done on Tuesday, July 23rd and winners will be contacted at that time.
For more information on any of these great events, visit our website: www.visitvenicefl.org, email us at info@venicemainstreet.com, or find us on Facebook @VeniceMainStreet.

Loveland Center Expands ADT Program

Loveland Center Expands ADT Program

Almost 60 years ago in 1962, a group of parents in the Venice area sought to be the voice for children with disabilities and advocate for educational and community services. That was the beginning the organization known as the Loveland Center. Today, the Loveland Center, located at 157 S Havana Road, includes a planned residential community tailored specifically for adults with developmental disabilities and programs such as The Supported Employment and Adult Day Training.

A major program of the Loveland center, the Adult Day Training, has expanded tremendously and now offers 31 unique classes for individuals to choose from, including gardening, news and cooking. The goal of the ADT Program is to strengthen the participants’ daily life in ways including communication and social skills. The program also strives to improve independence, decision making and self-advocacy. Participants are able to fully customize their schedules by choosing classes and experiential learning opportunities that interest them and help to achieve their personal goals. To further enhance the learning experience, each class has unique community integration opportunities.

One of the opportunities offered by Loveland’s Adult Day Training Program is a cooking class. Participants begin by browsing through grocery store circulars to see what items are on sale that week. They make their shopping lists based off the sale items and the amount of money they have to spend. The community integration opportunity in this class comes when the group actually takes a trip to Publix to shop for their ingredients before coming back to the Loveland campus to further learn about the cooking process.

To learn more about Loveland Center and their Adult Day Training Program, please visit www.lovelandcenter.org or call 941-493-0016. Stay up-to-date with the Loveland Center by following them on facebook.com/LovelandCenter.

The Muse: New Asset to Downtown

The Muse: New Asset to Downtown

Jocelyn Hoch and Forrest Shafer are the mastermind artists behind the recently opened fine art gallery, The Muse, located in the 100 block of West Venice Avenue in Downtown Venice. Hoch and Shafer have been traveling and vending at outdoor juried art shows for almost 20 years. All that time on the road can be quite grueling, so they decided to settle down locally and open their first brick-and-mortar storefront in Historic Downtown Venice.
It’s abundantly clear from first glance into their store that Hoch and Shafer truly have a passion for the arts. The fine art gallery offers original pieces including paintings, ceramic, glass, copper sculpture and mixed media. Some of the pieces available are a blend of various unique materials such as metal, watercolor, acrylic and even silk paintings. Along with their own original work, they are also exhibiting one-of-a-kind selections made by local award winning artists. Some recent additions to the gallery are brightly colored oil paintings on canvas created by local artist Carol McGill, as well as beautifully displayed cold wax paintings made by the talented Sylvia Hirschegger.
Hoch and Shafer both have an undeniable talent for custom hand-made jewelry and have a large selection of their jewelry on display, featuring precious metal and gemstone jewelry. Hoch’s specialty hand-made pieces sometimes take up to three months to complete, due to her carefulness and immaculate attention to detail. “We offer custom jewelry designs. If you have an idea in mind for a special piece, we’ll be happy to make it into silver or gold just for you,” said Hoch.
As with the artwork, they also feature local jewelers’ work including the recent addition from Jewelry by Merzatta. Hoch and Shafer take pride in making sure all artwork and jewelry is made with all American-made materials, whether it’s their own or another artists’ work.
All in all, The Muse is an absolute asset to Historic Downtown Venice. For more information, you can reach The Muse at 941-706-8389. The gallery is located at 101 W. Venice Ave, Suite 4 and their hours of operation are Monday-Thursday from 11am-5pm, and Friday-Saturday from 11am-6pm.

Preparing for an Eggstravagant Spring Season

Preparing for an Eggstravagant Spring Season

Venice MainStreet will host the first Wine Walk of 2019 on April 11th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. Grab a bunch of thirsty friends and get to Historic Downtown Venice as we sip, stroll and shop our way around town. During this very popular evening in Historic Downtown Venice, attendees can sample over 30 varieties of wine including wines from South Africa and California. Participating shops will be pouring 1-ounce tastings and participating restaurants will have great wine specials.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at Venice Wine and Coffee, the Venice MainStreet office, or online at www.visitvenicefl.org/product/aprilwine. On the day of the event, tickets can be purchased starting at 5:00pm at the Kiosk in Centennial Park or the Burgundy Square Breezeway. Those that purchase in advance can pick up their wristbands and a map of wine tasting locations at the kiosk or breezeway at 5:00pm on the day of.
Another wildly popular event approaching is the Easter Eggstravaganza in Centennial Park. This annual event will be on April 20th at 9:30am and is presented by Edible Gifts & Treats, Premier Community Bank, Venice Lion’s Club, The Warehouse and Venice MainStreet.
“This year is set to be even bigger and better than ever before,” said Nick Sperry, Events Coordinator for Venice MainStreet. Kids can look forward to hunting thousands upon thousands of eggs, music, prizes, candy, The Easter Bunny and other entertainment. The record number of 8,000 eggs this year will hold candy, toys or prizes generously donated by local merchants. Erin Silk, CEO of Venice MainStreet, reminds parents to bring baskets for the children and to arrive early to enjoy the entertainment.
In May, we welcome the return of the Venice Seafood Festival. This year the event will span three days; Friday, May 3rd from 4-10pm, Saturday, May 4th from 11am-10pm and Sunday, May 5th from 11am-6pm. While enjoying your seafood meals and drinks, enjoy the captivating sounds of live musical performances on stage by some of Florida’s and the region’s top musical talents. Patrons can also enjoy a nautical marketplace, gourmet food items and specialty products.
For more information on any of these great events, please visit our website www.visitvenicefl.org or contact the Venice MainStreet office at 941-484-6722 or info@venicemainstreet.com.