Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
People to Watch

Coffee shop owners look to expand their Longboat Key business

Chris Carter, Justina Carter and Lorenzo Condensa spend most days at their coffee shop, Sips. A year of success has allowed them consider a new business venture.

Lorenzo Condensa, Justina Carter and Chris Carter.
Lorenzo Condensa, Justina Carter and Chris Carter.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer
  • Longboat Key
  • Business
  • Share

The new year will be all about expanding for the Condensas and the Carters.

It’s been almost a year since Justina and Chris Carter opened Sips in Whitney Beach Plaza, a shop that sells coffee, juices, smoothies and assorted breakfast items.

Recently, they added eggs and acai bowls to the menu — already expanding. 

When the shop first opened in February, Justina’s brother, Lorenzo, was still living in Georgia, commuting from time to time to visit his family. Their parents, Mike and Emily Condensa, run Performance Pilates just a short walk away from Sips.

But this year, their family will get a little bit bigger. Justina and Chris are expecting their first child. 

While they are thrilled themselves, perhaps no one is more excited than Lorenzo, who loves talking to people about his excitement in being an uncle soon. 

“Yes, it is crazy awesome news that my sister is going to be a mom and my brother-in-law is going to be a dad, but I’m going to be an uncle,” Lorenzo said.

Maybe he’ll even take on a full-time uncle position in the new year, he joked. 

In November, Lorenzo decided to move down to Longboat Key full time, and he now works at Sips whenever they’re open. 

All three of them have very structured weeks.

Usually, they make their way to Sips to open the shop around 7:30 a.m., taking orders and fueling Longboaters until 2 p.m. After they close, Chris likes to try to get a workout in at the family’s Pilates studio. 

Justina and Chris often find themselves at Publix after a busy day at the shop. It’s a convenient place to get dinner ingredients. 

Monday is the only day the shop is closed. On those days, Justina and Chris like to work out and eat breakfast at the house, or travel elsewhere for a breakfast out.

But aside from that, the two spend their days off running errands and buying supplies for the work week ahead.

Lorenzo’s after work activities range from golfing to videogames, and keeping in touch with his friends back in Georgia. But he also has some side hustles of his own.

Three days a week, after Sips closes, the young bachelor teaches classes at Performance Pilates. He also works as a remote car salesman with a company called Republic Auto Group.

On his Mondays off, he likes spending most of the time on a golfing range either on Longboat or close by in Bradenton.

Whatever the food, the three said family dinners are often a signature part of their days, especially on Mondays. 

After a year of being in business, Chris and Justina said the people are some of the best parts of the job. They enjoy seeing their regulars and keeping up on recent drama and news of the island. 

The family, like most island business owners, has had its fair share of trial and error in dealing with seasonal changes. But they’ve been able to navigate those, so much so that they’re ready to grow their business.

In the unit adjacent to Sips, the family is planning on a new business venture opening some time this year.

“We’re going to be expanding our shop, something new in the works early next year,” Chris said, hinting at the new plans but not yet giving away the details.

It all started with Justina’s childhood dream of opening a coffee shop. When her parents heard of the unit opening in Whitney Beach Plaza, the rest became history. And this year, Sips and the Condensas will be expanding this dream, and their family.



Carter Weinhofer

Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.

Latest News