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East County Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 4 years ago



+ New Saks Fifth Avenue exec has big plans for mall project
Joel Ellzey, recently named general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota, faces two acute challenges in his new position: He’s tasked with building on the success of one store while simultaneously planning the opening of another store.

The current store is the Saks at the Westfield Southgate Mall, south of downtown Sarasota. The planned new store is a potential anchor at the Mall at University Town Center, a $315 million project currently under construction in the East County. The mall and Saks are scheduled to open October 2014.

A 24-year veteran of Saks and Proffitt’s, a chain that merged with Saks’ parent entity in 1998, Ellzey says he will treat the new gig with daily fervor. Ellzey ran the Saks at the International Plaza in Tampa for a year before moving in early March to Sarasota. He worked in Atlanta for the chain for 20 years previously.

“I have this philosophy that every day will be better than the day before,” Ellzey said. “That’s the type of store I want to run.”

Ellzey, in contrast to what was previously thought, says Saks might operate two stores in the Sarasota-Bradenton region when the University Town Center location opens. That’s why he calls the new store an expansion, not a replacement, though the decision on the number of stores is not official. Either way, the new store, says Ellzey, will “be more of a regional shopping experience” than the current Saks, given its location.

The Sarasota store, while not regional in its customer reach, has been a local star for community and philanthropic fashion events. Sally Schule, the Saks Fifth Avenue Sarasota general manager since 2005, led the way in many of those initiatives. Schule is still with Saks in Sarasota, now in a marketing director role.

+ Counseling practice opens a new location
Samaritan Counseling Services of the Gulf Coast is expanding.

The company recently established a new satellite office with Dr. Elizabeth John, at Avanti Professional Office Center, 3062 University Parkway, Sarasota.

John, a licensed physician and a board-certified adult psychiatrist, now serves as Samaritan’s psychiatric consultant. While working with Samaritan, John will build her adult-psychiatric practice.

“We are excited Dr. John will be working with us in a consultative role,” Good Samaritan Executive Director the Rev. Rick Howell said. “Her background and experience will add a unique blend of psychiatric precision and compassion with authentic Christian faith to our already solid counseling presence in the community. This additional location allows us to reach more people where they work and live.”

+ Tidewater Preserve opens dog park
WCI Communities’ East County master-planned community Tidewater Preserve now has a new amenity for its residents’ four-legged friends.

The company recently unveiled a quarter-acre fenced-in dog park that includes shaded seating areas, a “Mutt Mitt” station with plastic gloves, bags and trash receptacles for pet-waste pickup, water fountains for dogs and other features.

The park is located next to the children’s playground and The Lodge, the community’s riverfront recreation and gathering center.

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