SARASOTA, Fla. -- In just two months, the new Mall at University Town Center will open, and two local businesses will be setting up shop at UTC to be among some of the most the well-known brands in retail.
At 24 years old, Sarasota High graduate Jackie Zumba opened her first fashion boutique in downtown. It was just the start of her vision to own boutiques throughout the U.S. "From the day I opened this one, I always knew that i wanted to have multiple stores. I just didn't think it would happen so quickly."
Three years later, Jackie's moving her store to the new luxury Mall at University Town Center and opening a second boutique in St. Petersburg.
She credits much of her success to customer loyalty and the opportunities available to women on the Suncoast. "There is more opportunity here in Sarasota for women than there is in other places. I mean just myself, you know, being proof of that. We've been able to grow and expand. And people really support the fact that I'm a 27 year old girl, doing this, trying to build it and make a good life for my family," says Zumba.
Also three years ago, a 23-year-old Sarasota native decided to put his passion for baking to good use and opened Sweet Doctors, a cupcake and cake ball shop tucked away in a small shopping center on U.S. 41. "We feel like a lot of people still don't know who we are, so in the new mall we figure we'll bring our brand out there, get the people to try the stuff," says owner Michael Stinson.
The new Sweet Doctors will have a prime spot next to Macy's in the new mall.
But while Sweet Doctor will keep their south Sarasota location, Jackie Z Style Co. is ending their lease downtown. A major reason being the effect the new mall may have on current Sarasota shopping destinations. "We had been talking about the fact that this new mall, we think it's really going to slow down the foot traffic down here," says Zumba.
The two new stores will be open in the new mall during its grand opening on October 16th.