“Finally, there’s a dry cleaner here.”
Denny Rudd, owner of White Sands Cleaners, hears that from customers who think his business opened after the new Publix at the Shoppes of Bay Isles.
In actuality, White Sands was open at the old Avenue of the Flowers shopping center and stayed open throughout construction of the new Publix and CVS.
“It was really hard for people to find us, let alone get to us,” Rudd said.
The dry-cleaning business moved into its new location Dec. 21, just one week after Publix’s grand opening. Since then, Rudd has been having the best season he’s had since he bought the business in 2008.
“I think it’s a combination of the improved tourism season and the improved location,” Rudd said. “We’re just so much more visible now.”
Tenants at the new Shoppes of Bay Isles report an increase in traffic since they made the move to the rebuilt shopping center that includes a new 49,000-square-foot Publix and 13,000-square-foot CVS.
According to Nails of Longboat Key manager Ann Nguyen, the salon has gotten many new customers since it moved from the old Avenue of the Flowers in January.
“We have more traffic than we had in the back,” she said.
Petar Sibinkic, owner of Your Fitness Instructor, opened his new location Feb. 11 and has seen a total transformation compared to Avenue of the Flowers.
“I designed the place according to my needs — everything from the flooring to the mirrors — and there’s brand-new equipment,” Sibinkic said.
The new location has approximately 1,000 square feet of additional space compared to Sibinkic’s old studio.
Publix Liquors opened in a 1,300-square-foot space next to the grocery store March 14.
The next tenant to move in will be Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, which is currently located at 546 Bay Isles Road. David Kovalsky, the branch’s sales manager, said the company hopes to move by May 1.
“We absolutely believe we will have much more foot traffic at this location,” he wrote in an email to the Longboat Observer.
One business that won’t be moving into the shopping center: Longboat Key Dental.
Dr. Larry Kassouf planned to move the practice from its current location at Mediterranean Plaza. Instead, he has sold the business to Dr. Michael O’Neil, and it will stay at Mediterranean Plaza.
Kassouf will work as an associate for the practice while teaching at LECOM School of Dentistry in Lakewood Ranch.
The Orlando-based Crossman & Co. is responsible for leasing the Shoppes of Bay Isles property. According to its website, crossmanco.com, a 2,578-square-foot space and two 1,299-square-foot spaces are currently available.
Demolition of the old Avenue of the Flowers building is planned for later this month.
The following shops are or will be located in Shoppes of Bay Isles:
• Nails of Longboat Key
• Premier Sotheby’s International Realty
(will open by May 1)
• Publix Liquors
• White Sands Cleaners
• Your Fitness Instructor