Husband-and-wife team Teliee and Svetka Popov are the owners of Sarasota’s ever-expanding temple of contemporary design, Soft Square|Calligaris. After a short stint on Palm Avenue, the gallery moved to Fruitville Road in 2012, and in January 2014 doubled that showroom to 6,000 square feet, making space for more coveted names in modern furniture and lighting.
With everything from minimalist Calligaris dining tables (the most popular item in the store) to Gamma leather sectionals, and now brands like Bensen, Artemide and Alessi, the Popovs are realizing their dream of becoming a full decorating showroom. That’s a far cry from where Teliee began when he moved to Sarasota from Lancaster, Penn., almost five years ago. “I started selling in my garage with one inexpensive sectional sofa in six colors,” he says.
Yet Teliee still finds time for his first love—music. “I am a songwriter and producer,” he says. “I come from a background of gospel and Christian music, touring and doing shows in places like Nashville. I’m still writing and putting groups together. Modern furniture and interior design are just another creative outlet.”
Must have: “A recording studio. I have one in my condo, and I would never want to live without one in my home,” Teliee says.
What’s your passion? “Stamping out human trafficking,” says Svetka. “Christine Caine, the founder of A21 Campaign, is my idol. I volunteer for ‘I Am More Than,’ an anti-human trafficking organization that fights slavery around the globe.”
What this town needs: “Build up the Rosemary District [with] lofts and contemporary condos like other cities have,” Teliee says. “The Rosemary District could be awesome with more homes, shops, art galleries and restaurants.”
1506 Fruitville Road, Sarasota
For more Sarasota shopping finds, click here to read Heather Dunhill’s Fashion I.Q. blog. >>
This article appears in the April 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Like what you read? Click here to subscribe. >>