A little more than a decade ago, Venice was at risk of losing a valuable piece of its history. A two-story Queen Anne Victorian-style house, constructed in 1896, was in disrepair and on the verge of being demolished. A small band of volunteers stepped forward and began restoring the house. And the City of Venice agreed to acquire the house and have it moved to public property behind City Hall.
Over the years, those volunteers have raised about $400,000 and donated thousands of hours of labor to completely restoring the building’s exterior. Work is currently underway to complete restoration of the building’s interior as well as construct an outside ADA-approved restroom and access ramp. The goal is to complete restoration of the house in time for Venice’s 90th anniversary on May 9, 2017.
The two-story house is the second oldest residence in Sarasota County. What sets it apart in addition to its architectural significance, however, is the unique role it played in our city’s history. The house was constructed by Joseph Lord in the midst of his 90-acre orange grove, which was located on the south bank of Roberts Bay. Lord played a major role in the development of the area. He eventually owned more than 50,000 acres of what would become South Sarasota County. Perhaps his most significant contribution to the local economy, however, occurred when he took out a small advertisement in a Chicago newspaper, touting the opportunities for investment in the area. His ad caught the attention of a wealthy widow named Bertha Palmer, who sailed into Sarasota Bay in 1910 for a closer look. The rest, as they say, is history.
In 1910, George and Abigail Higel moved their family into the house. In addition to managing Lord’s orange grove, George also wrote a regular column for a Sarasota newspaper, which today provides us much of what we know about life in the Venice area during those formative years.
Once restored, the first floor of the Lord-Higel House will serve as an early settler museum and welcome center. Visitors will be able to relax on rocking chairs lining the wrap-around porch while school children can experience first-hand what it was like to live in the area at the turn of the 20th Century. As part of the City’s Venice Museum & Archives, the historic house will be operated by volunteer docents as the Triangle Inn is today.
Please join us in restoring this historic treasure. A special Lord-Higel House Restoration Fund has been established by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and can be accessed at: http://www.gulfcoastcf.org/lhh.php. Or, you can mail your tax-free donation to Venice Heritage at P.O. Box 1190, Venice, Florida, 34284-1190. Together, we can make this vision for Venice’s future a reality.
November 5 & 6, 2016
Official Poster Design Contest
Venice MainStreet, Inc. is holding a contest for the 29th 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 must be available for an unveiling event on the evening of Wednesday, November 2, 2016.
• Original (unframed) artwork must be delivered to Collector’s Gallery and Framery (114 South Nokomis Avenue) by 5pm on Saturday, September 17, 2016 (Framery will be closed 8/29-9/10).
• 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 “flora imagery typical of Venice.” (Copy that will be incorporated into the poster/merchandise will include “29th Annual Downtown Venice Art Fest”).
*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
The Downtown Venice Art Fest is one of the area’s largest and finest art shows. 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.
Please include the following information with your submission:
City, State, Zip
Release: If the design I have submitted to the 2016 (29th Annual) Downtown Venice Art Fest Poster Design Contest is selected as the winning entry, Venice MainStreet and Howard Alan Events have the exclusive right to reproduce, sell, and distribute copies of the work. The original can be sold by me (the artist). In exchange for reproduction rights and preparation of high-resolution digital file, I will receive $500 and a booth at the festival.
Venice MainStreet is pleased to have been chosen as a “Gem of Venice” in the 37th annual Venice Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year awards. The recognition of Venice MainStreet’s efforts in economic vitlaity and historic preservation is greatly apprieciated.
When I decided the time had come to open my own tattoo studio, I couldn’t think of a better location than the art rich atmosphere on the Island of Venice. I wanted to be located in the heart of the community I had come to know and love. After months of speaking and meeting with zoning officials, we were finally able to find a great location just a few blocks away from W Venice Ave. I cannot begin to describe the overwhelming joy that came with knowing we would be the first and only tattoo studio on the Island. Nonetheless, I knew this came with great responsibility.
Our studio needed to be more than your basic “tattoo shop”. It became very important to me to be able to overcome the stigma that surrounds the industry. We developed and implemented a business plan that created a true family friendly Art, Tattoo, and Piercing Studio. We created a warm, clean, and inviting studio so that we can serve people from all walks of life in the City of Venice, whether they are 6 or 96.
I am truly overwhelmed by the support we had at our ribbon cutting ceremony. We had over 70 clients, business owners, community leaders, friends, and family that came out to welcome us to the Island. Their positive words and feedback about our studio were more than we could have ever hoped for. This was affirmation that we had made the right decision by opening on the Island and creating a different kind of environment than most tattoo shops.
However, opening on the Island was about more than that. We joined, and became very active in, the Chamber of Commerce, the Venice Area Young Professionals, Venice MainStreet, and a local BNI chapter (Money in the Morning), and jumped on every opportunity we could to get involved. Our mission is not only to provide a unique experience in the studio, but also, to give back to the community that has already shown us so much support.
One of the most important ways we give back is by giving local artists a place to display and sell their works of art without the high consignment fees (usually 40-50%) that most galleries charge. We proudly display art from eight different local artists with plans to incorporate work from many more in the years to come. This also allows us the opportunity to host charity art events benefitting small, local nonprofits through Beauty and the Beards Charities, Inc. The first of which raised over $1200 for Face-Autism, Inc. More information about Beauty and the Beards, and the event, can be found at facebook.com/bandbcharities.
I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such an amazing, eclectic community. Being located on the Island provides an amazing opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves and to give support to other great local businesses and organizations. We would love for you to come in and experience the difference for yourself, 241 S Tamiami Trail.
Venice MainStreet has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach®.
“Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year’s nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America’s cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country.”
The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by Florida Main Street, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. 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.
Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $65.6 billion in new public and private investment, generated 556,960 net new jobs and 126,476 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 260,000 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Venice Area Young Professionals was initiated by a small group of members active in the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce who shared a vision that Venice would benefit from a Young Professionals group. In 2006, the VAYP was formed as a committee of the Chamber and since then has become a large and vital organization in the community.
Today, the Venice Area Young Professionals, provides professional development opportunities for members, volunteer activities that make an impact on our community, and social activities for individuals and families to share in. VAYP’s mission is to unite, lead and encourage involvement to create a vibrant and prosperous community.
As VAYP celebrates its 10 years anniversary, they invite all to participate in a weeklong Young Professionals Week celebration in Venice. Yearly Young Professional weeks have become community staples across the nation. Please join us as we celebrate the successes of the Venice Area Young Professionals and continue our mission in the prosperity of our community. The week events follow, check out VAYP Facebook page for more details:
June 11th- Beach Bash at Venice North Jetty Pavilion from 4 pm – 8 pm (Family Friendly event) BBQ provided by Backwoods BBQ and Catering
June 12th- Stone Crab Picnic and a Game at Port Charlotte Stone Crabs $20/person includes food and ticket. Pre-registration required at Venice Chamber of Commerce website. 12:35 pm Game
June 15th- Wake up Venice with Venice Area Chamber of Commerce at HarborChase of Venice 7:30-9:00 am
June 16th- Leverage with LinkedIn Lunch and Learn with Gretchen Miscik at Venice Area Chamber of Commerce 11:30-1:00 pm.
June 17th- VAYP Rise N Grind Networking at Venice Wine & Coffee 7:30-9:00 am.
For more information contacted the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce: (941) 488-2236
By Maria Baskin
If you have eaten at one of our fine downtown Venice restaurants, you have probably found your way to Ciao Gelato for one of their heavenly gelatos, Italy’s version of ice cream. I recently interviewed one of the owners of Ciao Gelato and a power house of a woman, Daria Nafziger. I asked her how she and her husband/business partner, RJ, made their way from their former life in print/tech sales to owning this cozy little gelato shop on West Venice Avenue.
“Our gelato is such a good product and we feel so passionate about the process. We make our gelato fresh everyday with whole milk not fat, making four ounces of espresso gelato, for example, 160 calories. We also use fresh fruit no purees and we don’t whip it we mix it by hand which makes the gelato richer.” They get their base ingredients, which includes Amaretto (as in Saronno Italian liquor), and their equipment, Carpigiani, from Italy. “We get such satisfaction out of introducing our customers to the authentic experience of our gelato,” she tells me beaming. Whenever possible they make the effort to use local vendors such as Dakin Dairy in Myakka City, Sea Salt Florida out of Bradenton, J and M Herbs from Arcadia and Yummies Donuts in Venice.
“Who creates the different flavors?” I ask. “My husband, RJ, is the genius behind the twenty flavors we carry everyday and more than half change each day.” There are always the eight traditional flavors – Tiramisu`, Pistachio, Peanut Butter, Stracciatella made with Chantilly cream laced with ribbons of chocolate. And then there are the twelve non-traditional flavors – Oreo, mint-chocolate, festive seasonal Peppermint and Candy Cane, Spring Cake, Al Gusto Chocolate, Caramel Sea Salt and Rum Raisin… to mention a few.
As Daria and I talked about Ciao` Gelato, I noticed a group of young women sitting at one of the little café tables in the shop each enjoying a different flavored cone. I walked over, introduced myself and asked, “Why do you come to Ciao Gelato?” “Honestly?” said Emma Szablowski. “It tastes better!” Her friend, Mercedez Weigelt, then added, “Their flavors are so different.” By the time I wrote down their responses, their gelatos were gone but they had that boy-was-that-good look on their faces.
As I turned back to Daria I asked, “How was business this season?”
“Great!” calls out one of her associates, Alessandro, a young man from Italy whom they met at one of the culinary classes RJ attended on the art of making gelato.
“What do the tourists/visitors say about Venice?”
“They love downtown Venice and would love to shop all day!”
“Where are your customers coming from?”
“There is a younger population starting to come and not just tourists from Washington, Colorado, France, Germany, Canada and England. The locals who live, work and shop in Venice are a big part of the growth of downtown. We make sure not to forget them.” During the off season, Ciao Gelato offers a one-dollar-off coupon twice a week in the Gondolier Sun.
I visit Ciao Gelato often and I am never disappointed. If you haven’t stopped in for one of their rich luscious gelatos, you’re denying your taste buds a bit of the divine!
By Emilio Carlesimo
It may be confusing, as many people think of Venice MainStreet as a merchant organization. However, VMS is not solely an organization of downtown business owners and its mission is far broader than helping businesses thrive. It is an organization created 28 years ago by a group of forward thinking business leaders, downtown merchants and city fathers who knew that to preserve our downtown we needed to do more.
In the mid-1980’s downtown Venice was at a crossroads. It could have fallen into disrepair, as apathy and new retail options entered the market. Or it could flourish and become the town we celebrate today.
In 1988 Venice Main Street was accepted into the National Main Street organization. No small feat, as the application process took over two years and required that the applicant (Venice) showed a full community partnership between the city, chamber of commerce, business people, merchants, property owners, service organizations and citizens. It was an incredible task to bring all of these diverse groups together to support a plan to revitalize and stabilize downtown Venice. Can you envision Venice without its welcoming downtown avenues and gateway to the beaches?
The Main Street designation has allowed VMS to do more than could be accomplished by just a downtown business association. Its non-profit (501C3) designation gives it many advantages and allows all contributions to be tax deductible.
In welcoming Venice into the National Main Street program, the judges recognized Venice’s great sense of history and its desire to see the downtown remain a viable part of the community. They also added that Venice still maintains a belief in the “hometown” concept and concluded, “It is a special place, with a special heritage and most of all, special people.” That is still true thanks to the efforts of Venice Mainstreet.
Venice MainStreet deserves your support always, but needs your help just a little extra this month. Venice MainSreet joins 24 other Main Streets across the country in the final stages of America’s Main Street Contest. Online voting takes place May 2nd – May 29th and Venice MainStreet could win a grant of $25,000! If VMS receives these much, needed funds it will help tremendously in its work of keeping the magic of Venice alive.
Vote for Venice MainStreet: http://mainstreetcontest.com/profile.php?id=46
The national small business movement, Independent We Stand, announces the quarterfinalists, including Venice MainStreet, of the 2016 Independent We Stand “America’s Main Streets” contest. As the lifeblood of our cities and towns, Main Streets play an important role in the long-term success of communities and help build a sense of place. Venice Main Street is calling on the public to vote for help move VMS one step closer to the grand prize of $25,000.
Venice MainStreet was founded in 1987. During this time businesses and downtown were struggling. Today downtown prospers due to the ongoing economic vitality and support that Venice MainStreet brings to it. The drive of Venice MainStreet is historic preservation through the context of economic vitality. “To protect what we have, we as a community must work together keep it viable.” says Erin Silk VMS Executive Director, “We are excited to be considered for the $25,000 grant from Independent We Stand. We hope you will help us by voting every day until May 29th.”
“The goal of this inaugural Independent We Stand ‘America’s Main Streets’ contest is to promote the importance and strong economic benefits of Main Streets and the small businesses that help them thrive,” says Independent We Stand co-founder Bill Brunelle. “We are so pleased to see how passionate people are about their Main Streets. It’s evident by the broad range of nominations we saw representing 44 states in the first round. Now, it’s time to rally and vote again for these terrific quarterfinalists.”
More than 150,000 votes were cast for 253 nominees during the nominations phase. The quarterfinalists in alphabetical order are:
• Ames Main Street Cultural District, Ames, Iowa
• Cedar Lee Business District Ohio, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
• Corning’s Gaffer District, Corning, N.Y.
• Dover-Foxcroft Downtown, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
• Downtown Brookings, Brookings, S.D.
• Downtown Development Authority of the City of Tifton, Tifton, Ga.
• Downtown Laurel, MS, Laurel, Miss.
• Downtown Lynden, Lynden, Wash.
• Doylestown, PA, Doylestown, Pa.
• Gateway to the Great North Woods, Millinocket, Maine
• Grapevine Historic Main Street, Grapevine, Texas
• Historic Downtown Franklin TN, Franklin, Tenn.
• Jacksonville Main Street, Jacksonville, Ill.
• Main Street Greenville, Greenville, Ohio
• Main Street Libertyville, Libertyville, Ill.
• Main Street Madison Indiana, Madison, Ind.
• McKinney Main Street, McKinney, Texas
• Moultrie Main Street, Moultrie, Ga.
• Sterling Main Street, Sterling, Ill.
• Stuart Main Street, Stuart, Fla.
• Third Street, Beaver, Pa.
• Venice Main Street, Venice, Fla.
• Water Street, Gardiner, Maine
• Wellsboro Main Street Pennsylvania, Wellsboro, Pa.
• Woodstock, Georgia, Woodstock, Ga.
Semifinalist voting began May 2 at www.MainStreetContest.com and runs through May 29. Voting can be done daily.
The winner of the 2016 “America’s Main Streets” contest will be announced June 3.