Both Anna’s Deli and Total Tennis on Avenida Madera in Siesta Village are closing this month and moving on to other locations, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.
“We absolutely hate it,” said Dave Havill, whose family started Anna’s 41 years ago in an old house where the Daiquiri Deck now stands.
Havill is preparing to open a new store off University Parkway, he told the News Leader May 14.
Phil Perrella, one of the partners in Total Tennis, said his business is scheduled to reopen June 1 in its new location at 2300 Bee Ridge Road, the former home of Persnickity Cat.
Total Tennis has been in Siesta Village for 35 years, Perrella noted.
Havill said parking had been the biggest problem for Anna’s since it relocated to Avenida Madera from Davidson Plaza almost four years ago.
Perrella indicated that parking also was one of his reasons for relocating. “So many people say they are hesitant to come out to the Key at certain times of the year,” Perrella said, referring to the traffic and parking difficulties at the height of season.
However, the primary motivation for Total Tennis’ move, he said, was the decision by his landlord, John Davidson, to allow a restaurant to go into the space.
He added that he and his partners, Carolyn Lewis and Jeff Lewis, had been working on their move for “a couple of weeks.”
Davidson had been very good, he said, about allowing them to continue their lease on a month-to-month basis while they were considering options.
(Davidson could not be reached for comment about plans for the Total Tennis space. He already had left Sarasota for the summer, a Davidson Drugs employee told the News Leader May 14.)
“It’ll be easier for [customers] to come see us” in the new location, Perrella said, noting that many of them live in areas beyond Siesta Key, including Venice.
The Bee Ridge location, he pointed out, is much more accessible to Interstate 75.
One customer on Siesta Key, Ange Wanless, a volunteer at the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, underscored the widespread popularity of Total Tennis in a brief interview with the News Leader.
“It’s incredible,” she said of the store’s assortment of clothing and equipment. Regarding the clothing, especially, she said, “I think [it’s] the best selection in the whole area.”
In discussing his move, Havill was quick to note that Anna’s will remain open on the south end of Siesta Key, near the Stickney Point Road intersection. In fact, he said, business had been increasing at that location during the same period it had been declining at the Avenida Madera store.
Parking was an issue when Anna’s was in Davidson Plaza, Havill said, which was the major reason for the move to Avenida Madera. After that move, Havill said, he looked forward to customers finding spaces readily in the municipal parking lot, located at the end of the street.
However, he said, after the Village beautification project was completed in March 2009 and the county’s parking regulations in the Village subsequently changed, his and other businesses on Avenida Madera were left without dedicated parking spaces.
“For the last four years,” he added, “we watched people park in front of our store” in the morning, unload beach gear “and be gone until we were closed.”
Likewise, he said, the municipal lot — especially during season — filled up between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Lack of available parking for customers, Havill said, “is a crippling problem for a small business … even one as established as we were.”
Havill pointed out that Anna’s over the past eight years has continued to win local media competitions for offering the best sandwich in Sarasota.
Parking has to be a big problem for other restaurants in Siesta Village, Havill said, pointing out that new ones seemed to open “every 15 minutes,” only to close a short time later.
His new location off University Parkway, at 8207 Tourist Center Drive, is set to open the first week of June, if all continues to go well with construction, Havill said.
In the meantime, Havill has begun marketing his three locations as Anna’s Deli Siesta Key (at 6535 Midnight Pass Road), Anna’s Deli Downtown (128 N. Orange Ave.) and Anna’s Deli University.
Referring to the new store, he said, “We’re real excited about that opportunity,” adding that parking on Tourist Center Drive should not be a problem.