There’s no doubt that Bill Wort was recruited as manager of the new Ringling Museum Store because he’s a 19-year veteran of the shops at the Smithsonian’s Freer & Sackler Galleries, which form the national museum of Asian art. That experience will come in handy as the Ringling gears up for the upcoming Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt Asian Art Galleries.
“I was a film major; that’s why I’m in retailing,” quips Wort, who quickly commandeered the store’s second floor for circus-related clothes and toys that are flying out the door. His Asian flair is already evident in stunning vintage Japanese silk scarves and bags, kiddie kimonos and gorgeous Chinese ceramics in blue and white or Blanc de Chine.
These fab, affordable gifts are just the beginning. “It’s important to find and design products related to our collections and exhibitions,” says Wort, who’s developing everything from scarves based on Cà d’Zan stained glass to jewelry inspired by paintings in the Historic Asolo Theater. Ringling Museum Store, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota (941) 359-5700, ext. 1110.
What this town needs is a nice vegetarian restaurant on par with those in Washington, D.C. I really miss that. But I don’t miss the traffic or the winters; plus, my commute from Lakewood Ranch is a breeze.
Can’t live without My cats. My late wife was very involved in rescuing alley cats from a feral colony in downtown Washington, D.C. I have two of those feral cats (and two from PetSmart). They’re all sweet.
Retail Curator Tying products to collections and exhibits is itself an art, resulting in best-selling circus tents ($70), toddler kimonos ($39.95), great scarves ($68) and bags ($32.95) of vintage Japanese silk fabrics.
Andrea Rankin and Karen Magee just marked the first birthday of Jake’s Downtown, where cause-related marketing and luscious “crushers” pajama gift sets ($55) are cause for celebration. Jake’s Downtown, 1463 Main St. (941) 955-5253.
shoes, boots and handbags like Cristal’s Audrey Hepburn-inspired satin clutch (under $300), with Swarovski crystal bow-clasp, have the look that catapulted elegant couture shop T. Georgiano's on through a highly successful first year. T. Georgiano’s Shoe Salon, 1409-B First St., (941) 870-3727.
Ports of Call
Kelly Augustyniak’s year-old boutique boasts unique fashion finds from around the globe, including this eel skin belt with carved wooden buckle ($695) and slim skirt ($1,095) by Ports 1961, a hip brand by modernist designer Tia Cibani. Kelietza, 602 S. Pineapple Ave., (941) 312-5403.