Four Ribbon-Cuttings to Take Place on Siesta Key



Whether a sign of recovery or coincidence, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce this week will host four ribbon-cuttings for new businesses on a single day. A joint event will be held Wednesday at 5pm to celebrate the openings of Island House Tap & Grill, Local Chill, Siesta Key Wine and Swell Things.

“It’s a great chance to get some business for our new folks,” says Rachel Dixon, promotions and event coordinator for the Chamber. The businesses—three food services companies and one clothing retailer—all opened in Davidson’s Plaza in the last two months, she says.

That happened even as red tide continues to diminish tourism on Siesta Key. There’s been a number of businesses that closed shop on the island and many more that report profits down from prior years.

And while state officials last week said all Florida waters appeared to be clear of red tide, Dixon says that, on Friday, reports from Mote Marine Laboratory included red flag warnings for light respiratory irritation, even as reports of dead fish on the coast became rare.

Bob Davidson, whose Local Chill first opened its doors on November 19, doesn’t read too much into the sudden flurry of new businesses. “We were all in plans to open long before there was ever a red tide issue,” he says. “This is just a coincidence.”

As for whether traffic has been good on the island, Davidson says new businesses don’t have year-to-year figures to compare whether November or December sales were up or down from prior seasons.

But he says there’s been plenty of business to keep his ice cream shop successful. “Business is good and there are a lot of tourists here,” he says.

Dixon says businesses feel optimistic, even after red tide made for a tough year. But the chance to celebrate a number of new companies opening doors in relative proximity also provides a great chance to draw traffic to the island. “Especially at trying times, we've worked hard to tell people we’re still open, we’re still here and we need the business,” Dixon says.

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