Do what you love; love what you do. And if you have more than one great passion combine them all to make a decades-long dream come true. That’s what Christine Baer did last year when she and husband Don sold their wine stores in Tampa (The Grapevine at West Chase and The Grapevine at Race Track) after purchasing their all-time favorite pet store, Wet Noses on St. Armands Circle.
“Don and I moved to Tampa in 1970 because of his career in the wine industry. We longed to live in Sarasota, but Don traveled all the time and there was no [comparable service at the Sarasota] airport back then,” Baer explains. Still, the couple visited Sarasota at least 12 times a year, always shopping for their beloved pets at Wet Noses.
Can’t live without "My dog. It sounds so clichéd, but it’s true. We’ve had three since Don and I have been married: a Lab, a golden and now Max, a 10-year-old cocker spaniel." The eclectic shop has everything from organic food to faux-fur trimmed Ski Team jackets by Puppia, $55.
What this town needs "A stronger summer tourist season. We have the best beaches, fabulous restaurants, boutiques and arts. Maybe our chamber needs to create a marketing campaign to make summer more appealing to vacationers."
Sniff and sip Meet other animal lovers at Wet Noses’ monthly wine tastings including cellars like Doghouse wines, plus the store’s private label fruit-infused wines ($16.95 for 750 ml) that can be customized with your pet’s photo. Wet Noses, 472 John Ringling Blvd., (941) 388-3647
Design Central Right off Central Avenue in the Rosemary District is the newest interior design showroom in town, replete with high-end designer tile, lighting, contemporary furniture and a Marimekko concept shop featuring iconic floral patterns like Unikko, which has been blooming in homes around the world since 1964 (duvet, $218). Sarasota Design Center, 1413 Boulevard of the Arts, (941) 706-1616.
Cult Classics Preppy pastels meet Hollywood glamour at Leggiadro, the elite fashion chain whose new outpost on St. Armands Circle is quietly outfitting a devoted cult of fans addicted to its limited-edition hand-painted T-shirts (from $265), legendary form-flattering capris (from $395) and all-season cashmere. Think hip but casual Armani and Chanel—names that share customers with Leggiadro, 380A St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-1500.
Go for the Green at New Balance Sarasota, now ensconced in a new home that showcases the brand’s flagship eco-friendly interior design. The prototype format underscores new lines of green apparel at the store (sneakers $80), and its participation in Soles4Souls by collecting used shoes for "recycling" by the organization to 300 million needy barefoot people around the world. New Balance Sarasota, 1872 Stickney Point Road, (941) 921-3696.