LAKEWOOD RANCH — Just a few months after three businesses in San Marco Plaza learned the units they were leasing were in foreclosure, two of the businesses have relocated and changed their names. A third is moving this week.
The rest of San Marco Plaza’s stores remain open. Those units are individually owned and no other businesses are affected by the foreclosures.
On Dec. 9, owners of pet store Pedigree Lily Pet Spa and aquarium store Underseas Paradise were notified by the bank they had 48 hours to relocate. Owners of both businesses said they did not wish to negotiate with the bank to stay in their spaces.
“We’re glad to be out of the situation,” aquarium store co-owner Dawn Leach said.
Pet store owner Greg Bell closed his store Dec. 10 and reopened Dec. 11 as a new business, Puppy Paws, in a spot down the road on Market Street.
It doesn’t matter the sign outside still reads “Real Estate Information.” Bell couldn’t be more excited. The new space seems to be a perfect fit.
“I’m excited about the new location,” he said. “It’s bigger. There’re people (stopping by).”
Shortly after learning of the foreclosure, Bell considered purchasing his San Marco Plaza unit, but the possibilities offered by his new location on Market Street next door to Lakewood Ranch Realty were too attractive to pass up. For Bell, the move marks the end of a season of turmoil and new opportunities.
The space includes a glass enclosure, which now serves as the puppy nursery. A back room eventually will be converted into an outdoor-themed play area for prospective buyers and their potential pets. A sliding glass door on the side of the unit also will be transformed into a valet area, where customers can drop off their dogs for grooming or pick up a bag of dog food.
Bell also received word this weekend that Puppy Paws would soon become a franchise. Already 10 areas, including in California, Utah and Florida, are mapped out as potential locations.
“Puppy Paws is going to be coast-to-coast,” Bell said.
Meanwhile, the Leaches are working to reopen their aquarium store in a space in Bennett Plaza on State Road 64. When they reopen — hopefully on Dec. 17 — they also will be under a new name, Aqua Dreams.
The Leaches, who were married Dec. 5, already were working on the new location when they received their eviction notice.
“It should work out a lot better for us here,” John Leach said.
Manatee Golf owners Beverly Phelps and Larry Tatro also received good news Monday. The county has issued a certificate of occupancy for its future space in Gateway to the Ranch on State Road 70.
Phelps said she will be moving the business Dec. 16-17 and will reopen Dec. 18.
“We feel terrific,” Phelps said. “We are all elated. We can hardly wait to get over there.”
She and Tatro have been hoping to move into their permanent State Road 70 location for more than a year. A sign for the business at that location went up a few weeks ago.
Despite the relocation of those businesses from San Marco Plaza, the remainder of the plaza’s stores remains open, as units are individually owned and no other businesses are affected by the foreclosures.
“We’re all here and operating,” said i tesori co-owner Anthony Vento, who serves as the president of the San Marco Plaza Condominium Association. “We have unique shops, and we have unique things. We need the community’s support. It’s as I say, business as usual.”
Rest remains open
Because units in San Marco Plaza are individually owned, only three of the plaza’s businesses are affected by the foreclosure proceedings. The plaza itself is not in foreclosure and several businesses, such as WineStyles, Che Bella Salon & Spa, The Paper Tree and the Country Pancake House & Restaurant and others — remain open for business.
However, several units owned by businessman Gary Moyer, including those housing Manatee Golf and formerly housing Pedigree Lily Pet Spa and Underseas Paradise, have either gone to auction by the bank or soon will be auctioned.
One unit is scheduled to go to auction Dec. 22 and another on Jan. 15. Two units already have gone to auction, but titles have not yet been transferred.
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Address: 8317 Market Street, Lakewood Ranch
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Address: 8527 S.R. 70 E.
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