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Adios, Sarasota small businesses

The Circle Books exterior / VIA FACEBOOK

Despite all the hoopla about the improving economy, Sarasota is in the midst of yet another round of small business closures, and we’re losing several spots that have defined this city for years, if not decades:

  • Sarasota Hardware: This local hardware shop has been a fixture on Main Street since 1934, but it’s closing its doors because of the sharp decline in contractor business over the last few years. Kind of amazing it held out for so long against the Home Depots of the world.
  • Super Value Nutrition: Right down Main from Sarasota Hardware, this lil vitamin shop isn’t closing for good, just packing up and heading down to the Landings. Still, it’s a huge blow for all those who wish Sarasota’s downtown could be more walkable and liveable. Where else in the downtown core can you grab commissary items on the go?
  • Media on Main: The combination computer store/bookstore/café that replaced the much-loved and much-missed Sarasota News & Books has been dark for ages, leaving one of downtown’s prettiest spots (right on the corner of Main and Palm) vacant. A shame.
  • The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre: This for-profit dinner theater had been entertaining Sarasota audiences in the heart of downtown (right off of Main — notice a trend?) for four decades, but the theater was evicted last month. The venue had been struggling to get by for years, but to see an eviction notice posted outside is crushing.
  • Circle Books: You know how much I love bookstores, particularly independent ones that carry unique titles, the kinds of places where you can always hear a friendly recommendation from behind the counter. So I was beyond bummed to find out that St. Armands’ Circle Books has shut its doors. It was a beacon of intelligent life in an otherwise drab outdoor shopping mall, and it will be missed. Besides just slinging books, Circle worked with organizations like Forum Truth to bring in sharp authors for lectures and book-signings. Sarasota’s intellectual life just got a little duller.

So it goes, I guess. Let’s just hope that some smart entrepreneurs take up the challenge and fill these voids. Sarasota is losing a huge chunk of its history and its character, and we should do everything we can to keep our city from turning into one giant, bland strip mall.

Posted on October 10th, 2012Comments RSS Feed

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