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Sarasota Friday, Sep. 23, 2022 3 days ago

Upscale home store aims to satisfy Sarasota style sensibilities

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Clive Daniel Home opens in Fruitville Commons as the company's third showroom.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

Sarasota, culture and style go together like Van and Wezel. Holly and Hall. Towles and Court.

So, it should come as no surprise to the folks who run the Clive Daniel Home in Fruitville Commons that local clients typically arrive with a baked-in sense of what they like, one that differs from the company’s first two locations in Naples and Boca Raton.

“Sarasota's such an art community,’’ said Shannon Gower, the sales manager of the newly opened store. “You know, the area's really driven by the Ringling school, the Ringling Museum, the Sarasota Ballet, the opera, the Sarasota Film Festival and the architecture.’’

The 70,000-square-foot home-decor showroom on the western edge of the multi-use district at Fruitville Road and Interstate 75 opened this month with two floors of furniture, artwork, lamps and other accessories, rugs, flooring, tile, cabinetry, custom closets, interior design services, a construction department, a hospitality department, a fabric library (with a librarian) and four fab customer-consultation rooms named for The Beatles — Ringo, Paul, George and John.

Client consultation rooms are named Ringo, George, John and Paul in honor of The Beatles. (Photo by Eric Garwood)

It’s a lot, but it’s a store that aims to deliver for residents of the area’s island communities, the city of Sarasota and the growing Lakewood Ranch area on a promise to be a one-stop shop.

For nearly every design consultant in the building, there are people who are tasked to make it all work. Computer-aided design staffers pull together digital elements to create realistic renderings of rooms alongside sales-design staff. A growing library of fabrics is overseen by a librarian who keeps it all in order, even as more and more suppliers fill the northeastern corner of the building’s second story with categorized and shelved swatches, one of the batches named Eleanor Rigby, another nod to the Fab Four.

Home furnishings and other merchandise covers 70,000 square feet over two stories. (Photo by Eric Garwood)

“There's a larger luxury market here now,’’ said General Manager Rick Clary. “And the money that's coming here is larger than it has been in the past. I mean, all these amenities are drawing these people here, and once they experience it, then they go, 'wow, I've never been anyplace like this. I want to move here.' ’’

Clary said the local design sensibilities connect with the local lifestyle, real estate trends that have fueled a robust luxury-sales economy and often, residents’ previous residences.

The Boutique portion of the showroom offers a selection of such items as linens, candles and other items. (Photo by Eric Garwood)

“We might be just a little bit different than Naples in our selection,’’ Clary said of the items on display. “Our furniture might be a little bit different here, but only by about 10%. Boca Raton is the same way. Boca Raton goes contemporary also a lot.”

Often, Gower said, property owners sell a previous home fully furnished only to move into a newly built, but empty, home or condo. Or are planning to do so in still-to-be-completed locations such as Bayso Sarasota or The Residences at the St. Regis Longboat Key Resort.

She said her company specializes in picking up the interior design ball and carrying it through from beginning to end, often working with Sarasota area Realtors.

Sales Manager Shannon Gower and General Manager Rick Clary show off the store's cafe. (Photo by Eric Garwood)

From room to room, specialties are displayed from floor to ceiling, from furniture to the smaller items that make a space special.

There’s the Boutique with linens, candles and other items.

There’s a large section with luxury rugs, a segment with motion furniture, leather, outdoor furniture and even sleep sofas.

The store offers several public spaces, including a bookable room — it’s called the Chat Room — that seats about 30 that recently hosted a Lakewood Ranch community event, a café with a big screen TV that might entertain a spouse with a snack and a shopping break during an NFL Sunday and an open-air beer garden where patio furniture is displayed.

Situated in Fruitville Commons, the store is positioned not only for local growth but also regional. Clary said the location was intended as an easy drive for downtown dwellers or those on the keys, but also Lakewood Ranch locations.

Within view of Interstate 75, he said, connections to St. Petersburg to the north and Port Charlotte to the south likewise are easy.

“Wellen Park in Venice is a huge development,’’ he said of the south Sarasota planned community. “That's going to be as big as Lakewood Ranch probably or close to it. That would give us access to them as well.’’

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Eric is the managing editor of the Longboat Observer and the Sarasota Observer. Since graduating from University of South Florida in 1984, he's been a reporter and editor at newspapers in Florida and North Carolina.

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