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Spring 2021

Below: CEO Andy Guz of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and photo courtesy of the Sarasota Polo Club.



Advanced Patient Care

Quality of Life

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center remains dedicated to the delivery of advanced patient care in all times. As such, it is an honor to have this opportunity to raise awareness regarding progress on some of our most important initiatives of the last year. ER at Fruitville is now open. For the first time ever, residents located just east of I-75 on Fruitville Road have easy access to close-to-home emergency care. The full-service, freestanding emergency department offers 24-7 care for all ages. Additionally, completion of our $3 million Women’s Center project, expected this spring, expands access to high-quality maternity care. Designed for spa-like comfort, newly renovated labor, delivery and postpartum rooms help to keep mother and baby together in one space for their entire stay.

Warm breezes and sunny skies, green fields and natural environments, and most importantly, boundless opportunities describe the now and the future of Lakewood Ranch. With the quality of life in Florida, in general, and the Ranch, in specific, at an all-time high when compared to the rest of the nation, our small slice of paradise has somehow increased its speed in continuing a meteoric rise as one of America’s fastest-growing and all-around best communities. We are quickly passing the point of being a “newcomer” on the national scene, and, as we hear about in this issue’s “In Conversation,” we are setting the standards against which other communities may compare themselves. At this time, we are doing so, especially in the area of COVID/pandemic response and in how we have maintained a safe but business-friendly and quality-of-life-friendly environment. Jump onto the rocketship with us as we explore the people and places, businesses, and ideas that are all part and parcel of the Lakewood Ranch success story.

I am always here for members of our community if you have questions. Visit lwrmc.com/CEOletter to send me an email. A N DY G U Z LAKEWOOD RANCH MEDICAL CENTER | Chief Executive Officer

WES ROBERTS SRQ MEDIA | Executive Publisher

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FEATURES Retail on the Rise, 6 Even with the challenges of the pandemic, many say Lakewood Ranch’s retail business has boomed in recent months. Navigation, 10 A listing guide to dining, shopping, private schools, things to do and business organizations encompassing the fastest growing neighborhood in the country. Eat, Live, Lunch, 16 Health-conscious dining reigns surpreme with vegan, gluten-free, keto-friendly and low-carb swaps. In Conversation, 20 Join Andy Guz of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and Scott Zelniker of UBS Financial Services for insight on supporting the growth of the region. Play Ball, 28 Lakewood Ranch has a seemingly endless list of venues to lace up and hit the field for sports activities. This page: A bowl of grilled goodness from Urban Taco, an afternoon outdoors at a Sarasota Polo Club game.Cover: Sarasota Polo Club in full gear, image courtesy of the Sarasota Polo Club.

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Despite the challenges of the pandemic. many say Lakewood Ranch business has boomed.



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DIANE CREASY KNEW LAKEWOOD RANCH WOULD BE A BOOMING MARKET to launch an interior design business when she opened the door to Epic Home Décor on February 9, 2020. But within weeks, the first reports of a coronavirus infection in the state of Florida surfaced at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, less than nine miles away. “We opened just in time for a global pandemic,” she says.

RETAIL ON THE RISE A statewide lockdown shuttered the doors to her retail showroom a month and a half after she opened. But Creasy decided to persevere. Interior designers on staff continued to work with clients on the homes where many of them shifted their entire lives. And then, an unexpected thing happened. Despite a crashing stock market and layoffs across a range of industries, home construction continued and even picked up in and around the Ranch. When stores received clearance to reopen in May, Creasy found a pent-up demand to buy her goods and a growing number of newly relocated homeowners eager to shop. “For us, it’s been a better year, believe it or not,” she says. “Lakewood Ranch is just booming.” Creasy isn’t alone. Nancy’s Bar-B-Q kept its doors open in Lakewood Ranch even as it had to shut its downtown Sarasota location down. Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie Lakewood Ranch now serves a full house with frequency. Light lockdown regulations, healthy income levels and a business environment that relies on local traffic all helped some businesses not only to survive a difficult 2020 but thrive. The experience isn’t a universal one, of course. There are retail businesses reporting steep declines in revenue.

The Lakewood Ranch Cinemas at the other end of Main Street at Lakewood Ranch remain dark most of the time, the Sarasota Film Society still unable to justify the electricity bill from turning on projectors just yet. Both the Lakewood Ranch and Burns Court Cinemas closed down in December except to rent space for the occasional large event. Renee Baggott, CEO of the Sarasota Film Society, said the state of the industry nationwide will likely dictate when business returns to normal. Plans for the moment are to reopen with a full schedule on April 1, so long as there’s movies to screen. “It’s based on when the pipeline of films is scheduled to release again,” she said. With luck, moviegoers in Lakewood Ranch will be crunching popcorn as Black Widow screens come May 7, more than a year after the Marvel film was originally supposed to hit theaters. But that’s just one of the many blockbusters stalled for months. Lower-budget independent films, where the theater actually gets to keep a greater percentage of each ticket sale, haven’t fared any better during a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still discourage crowds of any size, causing a 90 percent decline in revenue for the theater year-over-year.

She’s confident the theaters will bounce back, and that the Lakewood Ranch market will continue to see films. “The location we have on Main Street is a perfect location with restaurants so you can go to dinner and a movie,” she said. “It’s all a very safe, familyoriented environment.” Others doing business on Main Street, though, have largely lost the faith. Jan Nicolson, owner of Wish Boutique, said her clothing store has seen traffic drop 50 percent from the pandemic. “We see trends change with the virus count,” she says. “When cases go up, traffic goes down.” The retailer kept her doors open in the immediate weeks after the pandemic first arrived in America, but when the first case on the East Coast happened to be a Manatee County resident, the buying public quickly disappeared. She closed the shop before Governor Ron DeSantis ordered a retail lockdown. When doors could open for stores in Florida, Wish Boutique welcomed guests back, but there were few of them. A couple of employees quit, afraid of exposing themselves to the virus, and Nicolson decided not to replace them to save on revenue. Now, she fears Lakewood Ranch Main Street has it worse than shopping districts like The Mall at University Town Center. And the fact national retailers at the mall offer

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deep discounts on clothes that her boutique can’t afford puts all the more pressure on locally- owned shops. For 14 years, Wish Boutique called Lakewood Ranch home, seven of those under Nicolson’s proprietorship. This March, the shop will relocate to Cattlemen Road in University Park. But other establishment owners feel more optimistic. Nancy Krohngold, owner of Nancy’s Bar-B-Q, shut down her original downtown Sarasota restaurant last year when professionals in offices started working remotely and stopped lunching out. But there remained a loyal customer base frequenting the Lakewood Ranch location that was opened in 2019. Her Lorraine’s Corner location boasts outdoor dining, so there’s a safe place to dine for those concerned about eating indoors. And guests can afford to eat out. “There’s a higher income of customers here,” she said. The median household income for Lakewood Ranch, according to the US Census, is $89,430,

Previous spread: Diane Creasy of Epic Home Decor.This page, left to right: Jan Nicolson of Wish Boutique. Renee Baggott, CEO of the Sarasota Film Society, the organization that runs Lakewood Ranch Cinemas.

compared to $61,683 for Sarasota County as a whole and $59,956 for Manatee County. And unemployment for the region in December sat at 4.7 percent, compared to a 6.1 percent unemployment rate statewide. Not that there’s necessarily a shortage of customers ready to go out and enjoy what Lakewood Ranch has to offer regardless of the coronavirus. Alexandra Scott Simpson, operations and marketing director for the Tableseide Restaurant Group, said there’s enough customers with no trepidation about dining out to keep the 200-seat location for Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie at capacity frequently. “We are very busy up there and have beaten last year’s sales a few times,” she said. “The majority of our guests are comfortable, or they wouldn’t come out. There’s been some industry-wide shifts in the restaurant world that local establishments feel with certainty. Simpson said about 35 percent of the business at Libby’s Lakewood Ranch these days comes from takeout orders.

Pre-pandemic, it was 4 percent. But whether guests dine in or take boxes home, the restaurant benefits from a local fan base. While the original Libby’s location in Hillview relies substantially on tourists and out-of-town visitors, markets impacted by a significant decline in tourism last year, most diners in Lakewood Ranch live in the community 365 days a year. That also means there’s a business community in place and providing consistent support. Dom DiMaio, president and CEO of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, said the organization has devoted much of its marketing efforts in the past year to spotlighting member restaurants and local shops, reminding patrons of the availability of takeout meals and curbside shopping delivery. “As 2020 progressed, we found creative ways to have lunch delivered from a member restaurant during our Sandies event and began scheduling events with restaurants,” he said. “Since the pandemic began, we have hosted seven in-person Lunch

with Ranchers’ events to drive business to local restaurants and we plan to continue this in the upcoming year.” That’s on top of 42 virtual education programs provided to make sure area businesses took advantage of such relief as the federal Paycheck Protection Program, Manatee CARES and other aid for small businesses. “The Alliance has fully supported local businesses and done our part in directing others to support local as well,” DiMaio said. Creasy said she’s been thrilled by the local support, and she hasn’t needed any relief thanks to the healthy level of business and profit enjoyed by her store. Big-ticket, high-profit items like rugs and furniture pieces won’t stay on her showroom floor for any extended period. “There were times that were hard,” she said. “In April, we lost all of our retail business. But I was just amazed how fast the design jobs came and how much volume was needed.” LL

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DINING Another Broken Egg Café

A neighborhood favorite, Another Broken Egg offers breakfast and lunch. Get the Very French Toast topped with bananas, berries, walnuts, cinnamon and whipped cream for a sweet morning, throw in a mango mimosa to make it even sweeter. Broken Egg offers two-forone specials on domestic beers and house wines on Friday afternoons. Breakfast and lunch. 6115 Exchange Way, Lakewood Ranch, 941-388-6898.

ATRIA Bread+Coffee

ATRIA Bread + Coffee opened just last year with a focus on artisan sourdough breads made with whole grains. Using minimal ingredients, all bread loaves are milled in-house every morning for breakfast and lunch service and for full service catering which includes gourmet breadboard options, artisanal toasts and housemade spreads. The cafe itself encompasses a modern yet welcoming interior with specialty coffee and tea beverages, as well as baked pastry goods including muffins, cookies, scones and more.4120 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.,Bradenton, 941-751-1016, atria.cafe, @atria.cafe

Big Olaf Creamy

Take a stroll down Main Street and stop in this local favorite for a sweet treat. Formerly an Amish enterprise, the new owners’ commitment to quality can be found in every scoop of handmade Amaretto Almond, Maple Walnut, Royal Banana Crunch, Butter Pecan, Plantation Praline and more. Sugar-free options, sorbet and frozen yogurt available as well. 8151 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-0151.

Casa Maya Mexican Restaurant

Find authentic south-of-the-border flavors with a genuine Mayan emphasis at this casual dining locale. A Guadalajara favorite, signature molcajetes serve up steak, chicken, shrimp, scallops or fish in a heated volcanic stone, mixed with grilled onions, peppers and homemade salsa, served with fresh tortillas. Other specials include Mayan Fajitas, taco salads and enchiladas from the family recipe. 8126 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-9449.

Craft Growlers Tasting Room

Check out the first craft beer and growler pub in Sarasota/Manatee. It is both a spot to purchase and fill 64- and 32-ounce growlers from 45 taps to take home with you, and a casual place to hang out and down a pint as well delicious sandwiches, beer bites and shareable items. Its craft taps are filled with a wide array of brews, ranging from Belgian-style ales to ciders, IPAs and a big selection of Florida beers. 8141 Lakewood Main St., N103, Lakewood Ranch, 941-822-8131.

DimSum King

Conveniently located in the UTC area, DimSum King offers a delicious assortment of small, medium and large traditional Chinese dishes and, most famously, “dim sum all day,” as their motto declares. With its comfortable atmosphere and expansive menu, this is the perfect spot for family dinner, date night or anything in between. 8194 Tourist Center Dr., Bradenton, 941-306-5848

Ed’s Tavern

The friendly, neighborhood sports bar—complete with a full menu and outdoor seating area—is right next door to the movie theater. Enjoy finger foods and classic bar bites with friends while watching the game, or take a date to the cinema and follow it up with everything from burgers and flatbreads to wings, chili and entrees like the Smoked Pulled Pork Platter, Jumbo Shrimp and House Smoked Ribs. Don’t forget to explore the rotating taps, free-to-play trivia nights and live music on weekends. 10719 Rodeo Dr., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-0400.

The Granary

From the previous owners of MacAllisters Grill & Tavern, this local spot boasts traditional dishes with modern, and delicious, twists, handcrafted caffeine and pastries as well as a bar area. Whether you indulge in a decadent breakfast of pancakes, benedicts and lighter bites or prefer a fresh salad, soup or sandwich for lunch, there’s something here for everyone. 2547 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, 941-746-2000

Grove Restaurant

This latest offshoot from the restaurateurs behind the famed Pier 22 offers a wide variety of cuisine—all with a focus on locally sourced and

fresh ingredients. Seafood lovers will find their fill amongst Shrimp N Grits, Stuffed Lobster and Scallop Benedict, while those craving red meat can’t go wrong with the Roast Duckling, New Zealand Rack of Lamb or the Wild Game of the Day. Save room for dessert or an after-dinner coffee or cocktail. 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 941-893-4321.

Hana Sushi Lounge

RRoll up expecting an artful mix of raw and refined traditional Asian cuisine—and don’t leave disappointed. Say “Aloha” (shrimp, tempura, cream cheese, mango and coconut) to “Godzilla” (spicy tuna, asparagus, eel and avocado) and “King Kong” (shrimp tempura, kani, cream cheese, scallions, spicy tuna, eel and avocado) and leave feeling “Soul Good” (shrimp, cream cheese, avocado, asparagus, salmon and garlic). For those thinking outside the roll, check out the poke bowl selection and bento box specials. 8126 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-1290.

Inkawasi Peruvian

Homestyle cooking in the Peruvian style brings ceviches, empanadas and yucca to the menu, as well as chifa, a culinary tradition fusing Cantonese Chinese with classic Peruvian. The Tallarin Saltado unites wok-prepared Peruvian flame noodles with green onions, snow peas, peppers and cabbage, complete with chicken, beef or seafood. 10667 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 941-360-1110.

Lucky Pelican Bistro

Not only is this upscale seafood spot known for its iconic hot and cold selections, including a shell and fish bar, crab boil and dishes fresh off the cuff, but its ambience is enough to make this fan favorite your local go-to for lunch, dinner or takeout. 6239 Lake Osprey Dr., Sarasota, 941-907-0589.

Main Street Trattoria

Find classic Italian fine dining with an eye to artful presentation at this central hot spot. With a bar serving Margherita Flatbread and Fried Ravioli, save room for casual favorites like the Meatball Sub and MST Burger, or go full italiano and order up the Pollo Milanese, Salmon Piccata, MST Gnocchi or Fruitti Di Mare. 8131 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-1518.

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ALEXIS ZIBOLIS My goal is provide the most specialized service and care to each client in order to sell their property as efficiently, and effectively and at the highest dollar. To find them a home, not just a house. Inspiring client referrals to their friends, family, and business associates. I strive to be the #1 in sales AND in happy clients.


holds the distinction of Coldwell Banker’s Top 100 agents in Florida and is a Top Agent in Lakewood Ranch. With over 82 homes sold in 2021, Alexis’ clients choose to work with her because of her attention to detail, unmatched ethics, professionalism, unparalleled marketing skills, experience, and her “down to earth” disposition.Alexis consistently demonstrates her ability to exceed client expectations. Her listings sell faster and for more money because she understands the individuality of each listing and how to make them stand out above the competition. Her marketing plans are tailored to fit each listing and to highlight the distinctiveness of every detail including design and staging. She is able to anticipate the ebb and flow of the area’s market to plan and guide her sellers accordingly. Her knowledge about the area, communities, and the constantly fluctuating market help her buyers to make informed decisions.Because of Alexis’ concierge approach, unique strategies, outside-ofthe-box thinking, and innovative marketing style, she has become the area’s “go to” luxury agent. Her uncompromising commitment to her clients’ needs makes her truly unique and the ideal person to assist in buying or selling your next home.

Alexis Zibolis, P.A. Coldwell Banker Realty 8334 Market St. Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 c 941.725.3060 AlexisSellsSarasota@gmail.com

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Pacific Counter

A fresh fusion of chef-inspired cuisine and cultures, serving up a mainland mix of coastal classics in the form of sushi bowls and burritos in a colorful, upbeat modern cafeteria space. Select your choice of sushi rice, brown rice, noodles or mixed greens for your base, add proteins such as salmon, Krab, tuna, BBQ or baked chicken, shrimp or vegan and vegetarian options and choose to “roll it” or “bowl it”. Pacific Counter is the passion project of three long time friends who wanted to bridge the gap between the West Coast and East Coast with counter creations— they opened their first brick and mortar location in St. Petersburg, FL — the Lakewood Ranch location is their second location.11581 E State Rd 70 #109, Bradenton, 941-739-8039.

Paris Bistrot

This family-owned and -operated bistro serves traditional, French cuisine, directly from “Grandma’s recipes books.” Signature menu staples remain the authentic French Onion Soup, Nicoise Salad, Foie Gras and the vast variety of quiches and dessert crepes, with many chocolate, fruit and ice cream accoutrements.8131 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-388-0564.

Pinchers Crab Shack

Vibrant hand-painted signs and tropical parrots abound within this down-to-earth seafood shack. Decide between a boatload of mussels or addictive crab and cheese dip with a kick to start off your meal. Load up on shrimp scampi with secret family spices or jumbo lump crab cakes before topping your meal off with homemade Key lime pie or a dreamy chocolate cake ice cream shake. 10707 Rodeo Dr., Lakewood

Speaks Clam Bar

With a secondary location on St. Armands and having just announced a third in central St. Petersburg, it’s no wonder this local seafood spot is award-winning. While enjoying its vibrant bar scene and assortment of sea and land dishes, you’ll feel connected to Sarasota Bay without having to make the commute. 8764 E. State Rd. 70, Lakewood Ranch, 941-232-7646

Station 400

The fast-growing Florida franchise is on a mission to bring fresh, whole foods, rooted in real ingredients. With a trendy fast-casual approach, the modern hangout is a go-to for a healthful lunch of salads, wraps, bowls and cold-pressed juices. SoFresh is also a great option for diet-specific preferences, including vegan, vegetarian, keto, paleo and gluten-free. 11569 FL-70 #106, Bradenton, 941-769-9550.

Stop in anytime the artistic mood strikes and try your hand at painting pottery or check out the Kid’s Open Studio and, coming soon, SmART Boxes for at-home projects. This all-inclusive art studio has the space and resources for pottery painting, group events, summer camp, birthday parties, and even off-site social and corporate events. 8111 Main St. #107, Lakewood Ranch, 941-306-5840.

This is the third location of this beloved brunch spot and inspired by the quaint railroad depot building of the downtown “flagship” location. With a modern feel and the same chef-inspired cuisine, find the Station 400 locomotive circling above diners, along with its menu of mainstay sandwiches, salads, pancakes, cereals and grains, omelettes, baked goods and speciality mimosas. 8215

The Barbary Shoppe

Lakewood Main St., Suite P103, Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-0648.

Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-6068.

Explore the authentic tastes of Thailand for lunch and dinner at this local favorite. Prepare your taste buds to experience an infusion of thai flavors in their house-made curries and sauces, an ever-changing variety of daily soups, and top off your meal with a slice of coconut cake, a family recipe. 8209 Natures Way #111, Lake-

From everyday fashion rooted in southern style to college “game day” attire and accessories, this womens boutique has an avid following of young trendsetters and local fashionistas of Florida state colleges and universities. 5275 University Pkwy.,

Thai Spice & Sushi

wood Ranch, 941-907-4747.

Zenobia Mediterranean and Kebab Grill Toting an impressive

assortment of vegetarian appetizers, lunch specials and authentic dinner platters for the entire family, this Middle Eastern gem is guaranteed to satisfy your Mediterranean cravings with classics like falafel, baba ghanouj, house-made hummus and schwarma.

1857 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, 941-900-2722.

Ranch, 941-922-1515.


Arts A Blaze

SHOPPING/SPA Ana Molinari Salon & Spa

From professional hairstylists and colorists to makeup and eyelash artists as well as shiatsu masseurs, this glamorous boutique boasts the ultimate spa experience for locals. You won’t regret treating yourself to an afternoon at Ana Molinari. 8120 Lakewood Main St. #102, Lakewood Ranch, 941-373-3900

Whether you’re in the market for a traditional barbering experience or looking to invest in fine toiletries and fragrances, this family-owned neighborhood barbershop is the perfect spot for him. Their easyto-book haircut, beard and shave services are performed by skilled barbers experienced in the tonsorial arts. 8111 Lakewood Main St. #104,

Bows and Arrows Boutique

Suite #133, Bradenton, 941-210-7158.

EPIC Home Décor

This stylish home goods store offers an affordable variety of everything you need to turn your house into a home. From a range of living room accessories and furniture to design services, EPIC Home Decor makes it easy for locals to personalize their spaces. 10671 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 941-210-4713

Fantasy Flowers of Lakewood Ranch Stop into this Main Street

staple or simply order online to make someone’s day with one of their renowned flower arrangements. Whether you’re looking to impress with a designer’s choice bouquet or celebrate with a seasonal collection, you can’t go wrong with the freshest flowers in Lakewood Ranch. 8111 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-500-1000

Fashion Trade Bo-Tique

A trendy resale boutique specializing in both new and gently-used, “preloved” clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories. This new one-stop consignment shop is

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great for favorited brand name labels, discounted up to 70% off their original mall retail prices. 8734 East State Rd. 70, Bradenton, 941-216-3660.

Fine Wine & Tastings on Main

Different from large chain liquor stores, this boutique wine shop offers a selection of hard-to-get international and domestic wines by the glass, as well as a huge inventory of over 450 wines from more than 15 countries, with a focus on small and limited-production wineries. 8111 Lakewood Main St., Unit J105, Lakewood Ranch, 941-355-4718.

INfluence Style

This is the second location for the well-renowned St. Armands Circle modern clothing boutique. Find the same upscale, fashion-forward trends and basic wardrobe essentials with high quality threads and coveted brand names.8141 Lakewood Main St. Unit N-102, Lakewood Ranch, 941-351-9218

Integrity Sound

This is the second location for the well-renowned St. Armands Circle modern clothing boutique. Find the same upscale, fashion-forward trends and basic wardrobe essentials with high quality threads and coveted brand names.8111 Lakewood Main St. #103, Lakewood Ranch, 941-360-2412

Knot Awl Beads

This full-service bead shop is your source for everything bead related. Featuring Swarovski crystals, semiprecious gemstones, pearls, natural elements, Czech glass, sterling silver, Bali silver, PMC (Precious Metal Clay) and sterling silver sheet and wire in most gauges, it also carries findings, beading wire, leather, silversmithing tools and unique beaded jewelry. 8111 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-8335.

Naples Soap Co.

Stop in to this fun, coastal-inspired, upscale boutique to find premium-quality skin and hair care products made with natural and organic ingredients. Naples Soap offers a wide variety of tropical-scented and fragrance free body butters, bath bombs, cleansers, serums and so much more. Everything you need for ongoing self-care or that coveted gift for a friend. 8130 Lakewood Main St., Suite #101, Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-0870.

Vanessa Fine Jewelry

Specializing in custom-designed and one-of-a-kind pieces, this fine jewelry showroom features world-renowned designs from manufacturers like Kabana, S. Kashi & Sons, Frederic Sage, Breuning, Elma Gil, Denny Wong, MarahLago and Yanni B. Their on-site repair shop can also handle all of your jewelry and watch repair needs. 8131 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-373-6311.

Village Bikes

This is the second location of the family-owned Sarasota bicycle and repair shop. Find a full assortment of bicycles and cycling accessories, including bike helmets, saddles/ seatposts, pedals and shoes, cycle clothing, lights, computers, bicycle cleaning and repair equipment. They carry quality brands such as Specialized, Kask, SRAM, Hincape, Shimano, Cateye, Garmin, and other top manufacturers of bike equipment. 8111 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-388-0550.

Wish Boutique

A boutique shop offering women’s fashion, accessories, home decor and unique gifts with delightful service. From quirky finds to stylish brands, this shopping gem can help you find the perfect wardrobe piece or gift for any occasion. 8141 Lakewood Main St. Unit N-106, Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-9125.


An independent, nonprofit, international, college-preparatory Montessori school, NewGate seeks to nurture intelligence, curiosity and imagination while supporting and developing each student’s individual talents. The school teaches universal values and instills a global perspective, responsible citizenship and encourages an entrepreneurial spirit, aiming to graduate young people who are lifelong learners, critical thinkers and active leaders. Also an International Baccalaureate World School. Grades 7–12. 5481

Out-of-Door Academy

Out-of-Door Academy is an independent, college-preparatory school educating students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12 at two campuses in Sarasota. Students in preschool through grade 12 achieve high academic goals and build character through a balanced program of academics, athletics and the arts. Using a student-centered educational philosophy, ODA prepares students for college and for life. Each year, 100 percent of ODA graduates are accepted to four-year colleges and universities across the country. 5950 Deer Dr., Sarasota, 941-554-5950.

The Pinnacle Academy

Established in 2001, The Pinnacle Academy is dedicated to understanding and educating students who have learning differences. In small classes, learning differences are accepted and individually supported. Today, the school offers a private education to over 100 students and continues to grow and change with each passing year. 6215 Lorraine Rd., Bradenton, 941-755-1400.

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School

Situated on a fully gated, 35-acre campus, St. Stephens ranks among the top independent, college preparatory schools in the nation, providing education for students in grades Pre-K3 through 12. Students are nurtured in small classes, with faculty who help them navigate a balanced curriculum of academic rigor and character development. 315 41st St. W, Bradenton, 941-746-2121.


Getting kids to code consistently throughout the year is the only way they’ll really learn to code. TheCoderSchool’s flagship program, Code Coaching®, combines a super-small teaching ratio of typically 2:1 or 1:1 with individualized curriculum so kids of all ages and skill levels are able to move at their own pace, doing things that interest them most. Sessions run one or two hours a week (your choice), at the same time every week on a schedule either in-person or remotely 6293 Lake Osprey Dr, Sarasota, 941-355-2633.

Communications Pkwy., Lakewood Ranch, 941-922-4949.

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This page, left to right: Cauliflower Steak, Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie, libbysneighborhoodbrasserie.com, 941-357-1570, 8445 Lorraine Rd., Sarasota; Lemon Poached Shrimp Salad, Station 400, station400.com/lwr-main-street, 941-907-0648, 8215 Lakewood Main St., Ste. P103, Lakewood Ranch.

HEALTH-CONSCIOUS DINING REIGNS SUPREME. Vegan, gluten-free, keto-friendly and low-carb swaps are becoming the norm. Skipping the flour tortilla at Urban Taco won’t be missed when your fork is full of mojo chicken, fresh sautéed veggies and homemade guacamole. This new, long-overdue mindful-eating mindset is allowing our favorite restaurants to become innovative. The menus of these Lakewood Ranch purveyers are teeming with delicious, nutrient-dense offerings that don’t have to sacrifice flavor for fitness.

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Spread, clockwise: Keto Bowl, Urban Taco, urbantacofl.com, 941-253-0911, 11161 East State Rd. 70 #103, Lakewood Ranch; Portobello Burger, Grove Restaurant, grovelwr.com, 941-893-4321, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch; Keto Egg Scramble, Get Fit Fuel, , getfitfuel.com, 941-355-1770, 8327 Market St., Lakewood Ranch; Fresh Grill, Salmon Skewers, Little Greek, littlegreekfreshgrill. com, 941-210-4560, 8310 Market St., Lakewood Ranch; Pesto Club Wrap, SoFresh, lovesofresh. com, 941-769-9550, 11569 SR 70 E., Unit 106, Bradenton.

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LET’S START OUR DISCUSSION OF LAKEWOOD RANCH BY SHARING A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELVES AND YOUR ORGANIZATIONS. SCOTT ZELNIKER, VICE PRESIDENT OF UBS FINANCIAL SERVICES: I’m the head of a 13-person team that manages wealth for multi-generational families, high net worth people, businesses, and we’ve been doing it for nearly 30 years. I’m originally from New York but I moved down to Lakewood Ranch full-time in 2018. I’ve been a Lakewood Ranch resident since 2013, coming back and forth. I have operations in New York with five people, and I have eight more down in Florida. ANDY GUZ, CEO OF LAKEWOOD RANCH MEDICAL CENTER: I’ve been here since 2016. Much like Scott and everyone else that lives in Lakewood Ranch, I’m not originally from here. Everybody’s new here.


I came down here after running hospitals all over the country. I’ve lived on both coasts, midwest, east coast, west coast. I started my career in central Florida when I got out of grad school. During that time, we had found the Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota/Siesta Key area, and continued to come down here for vacations as we moved around the country. So when the opportunity presented itself to be able to move down here permanently, it was like a dream come true. So, here we are, and here we are to stay. LET’S TALK ABOUT LAKEWOOD RANCH AND GROWTH. GUZ: I’m part of that growth, just like everyone else is here. Lakewood Ranch is an interesting community, I think since the beginning, the concept was to build this into a large community. And we’ve been at the forefront here at the hospi-


tal since 2004, when it was built and opened. Since then it’s been a relatively short amount of time for a growth period to happen, especially in a hospital, but since then much like the community we’ve been growing and trying to accommodate all of those needs. I don’t see anything but growth potential for Lakewood Ranch going forward. I know in talking to the developers and some of the builders here, they had some of their best months for new construction, over the summer of the pandemic. So, I think as people have gotten more mobile and begin to work from home and realize they can actually do that, places like Florida, especially Lakewood Ranch with all the amenities and things to do, are much more attractive to people than perhaps shoveling snow. ZELNIKER: The growth has been spectacular. When my wife and I found this area by accident

back in 2013, I was down here visiting clients in downtown Sarasota. Some of my clients live in the Ritz tower and a client said, “You want to go golfing one day?” I said, sure. I brought over my clubs, got in his car and figured how far could the golf course be, from the Ritz itself? We start driving and driving and driving. And I said, “Where the heck are we going? We came across I-75. I think it was a single lane at the time, and we drove over to the golf course and I’m looking around thinking, “Boy, this neighborhood reminds me of Long Island back in the 1950s.” Now, I wasn’t alive yet in the 1950s, but I know the history of Long Island and I watched it grow. I called my wife and I said, “Lisa, instead of me coming down and staying at hotels every time, what would you think about buying a house in this little area called Lakewood Ranch?” We scheduled



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ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS ANDY GUZ, LAKEWOOD RANCH MEDICAL CENTER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Andy Guz has served as Chief Executive Officer at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center since 2016. Prior to joining Lakewood Ranch, Andy was the CEO of a hospital in Pennsylvania. He has also served in executive roles at other hospitals across the United States. Andy is a current board member for Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee County, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, and the Sloan Alumni Association Board of Directors at Cornell University. He is also a graduate of Leadership Sarasota, a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and active in the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and both the Manatee and Sarasota County Chambers of Commerce. Andy received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia and his Masters of Health Administration from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

SCOTT ZELNIKER, CRPC, CRPS Scott has been providing customized solutions for his clients since 1992. He is known for his ability to listen to client concerns, and his willingness to advocate for them when needed really sets him apart. With experience in wealth planning, asset management, risk management, business succession planning, philanthropy and family governance, Scott is an integral piece of any professional advisory network. As a Private Wealth Advisor, he coordinates direct access to the global resources of UBS, especially the intellectual capital his clients need for complex liquidity events and long-term estate planning across generations.


her for a flight on a Monday with a return on a Tuesday, and she called me up Monday afternoon and said, “I just changed my flight.” The opportunity here for individuals to grow their lives and for businesses to come in here, I think is tremendous. We’re in a bifurcated economy right now, and that’s one of the dilemmas we always face in our job. This area is just a tremendous recipient. People are leaving high tax states, they’re coming down here, they’re establishing their lives down here. They get a pretty big pay raise just by doing the same activity in a different location. The stores and the restaurants, everyone’s out and about. Quite frankly, from a living perspective it’s great to see. HOW DOES LAKEWOOD RANCH MEDICAL CENTER STAY AHEAD OF THE HEALTH NEEDS OF LAKEWOOD RANCH? GUZ: The more people that move here, the more people we just know statistically are going to need medical care. We’ve been planning for this since really the opening when we started, but especially since 2016, when we really started to kick up more projects and more growth and adding service lines. We’ve actually expanded the offerings of what we’ve done here in terms of this service line, so people don’t have to drive to Sarasota or to the Tampa areas to get the sub-specialized care they may need. For a hospital and being the only actual hospital in the Lakewood Ranch community, we take that pretty seriously. What we’re trying to do is really meet the demand and the needs of the residents that are here. And then there is the pandemic; any human on the planet in 2020, is going to say that was not a very good year at all for anyone. But the lessons learned, we are building on. We have a very good culture here and I think that this doesn’t just apply to hospitals,

but probably every company that has had employees and customers reevaluate their priorities in their lives and of what they’re going to be doing in the future. If you had a good, strong culture pre-pandemic, you probably made it out better than a company, or an organization, that people were just kind of going in there to punch the clock and get a paycheck. I think the better people who were taking care of their employees, and for us that’s nurses and our whole staff of employees, because, there is no “frontline healthcare worker” without the entire team. Everyone from the people making the food and delivering the food to the nurses, it’s the staff that is taking care of the respiratory physician that is taking care of the patient. It’s a hard job, and to add an additional stress of thinking about your own personal safety and your families’ safety when you go home to them is tough. I think what we tried to do the most, was communicate to our staff members that we’re taking care of you and we want to make sure you’re safe and we want you to be safe when you go home. LET’S TALK ABOUT DEMOGRAPHICS, SCOTT, WHO IS YOUR CLIENTELE? ZELNIKER: That’s an interesting question. We used to define it by the type of person, a doctor, a lawyer, a business owner, a charitable institution, but we’ve really redefined it into anybody that wants to outsource their investment decisions. People don’t know what’s going on out there. They need help. They need advice. Particularly down here in Florida, because they’ve recently moved and when you make a move, there’s a change. When people move, they’re going to get new doctors, they have to, because they need to be near their doctors. The second step they’re going to take is they’re going to

update their estate plans and their wills to Florida, because nobody wants to be taxed outside of Florida. The third domino to fall is the financial advisor. Our clients are people that want to outsource their investment making decisions and need help. That relationship has to be one that’s founded in a tremendous amount of trust, obviously for them to have faith that you’re going to handle their accounts. SO MUCH OF OUR COMMUNICATIONS ARE REMOTE THESE DAYS, HAS THAT CHANGED HOW YOU CONNECT WITH CLIENTS? ZELNIKER: I started the business in 1992 and in 1992, as you might imagine, I was cold calling 200 people a day. Then it morphed into financial planning. At the beginning of this pandemic, if you recall, the stock markets were in flux, the market dropped 30% in a month. As you might imagine, our phones were ringing off the hook, and our team had a life change as well. We were adapting from being in an office to everybody working from home. I watched my team really rise to the occasion. The beginning was very reactionary, and we became a major information source. As the CARES act was passed, as the PPP paycheck protection act was passed, people had questions. Because of the size and scope of the firm, we were able to get a lot of research out there, not only to our clients, but to their other advisors, their CPAs, their lawyers, then after about six weeks, when things settled down a little, we wanted it to be business as usual and make the clients feel normalized. When I made client calls, I asked my business manager to block out a full hour for each call. We were allaying fears. We were educating on what was going on. It was a great deepening of the relationship, as it turned out.

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OF COURSE THE HOSPITAL HAD TO MAKE ENORMOUS CHANGES AS WELL. GUZ: It was interesting because there was no national blueprint for this thing. You had to adapt, almost daily, what you were doing to try to just keep as many people safe as you possibly could. Restricting visitors was something that we did and it lasted for a good 30 to 60 days. Even now we’re under a limited visitor policy. But when we had no visitors, much like Scott’s dilemma, we’re used to having a family member present with the patient, so that we can explain to them, “Here’s what’s happening to your loved one. Here’s what we need your permission to do.” If someone is not capable of making that decision, whether they’re very sick or we have to sedate them and they may not be of the most lucid mind, then we were trying to do that over the phone and we’re implementing zoom calls with folks and giving patients iPads to FaceTime with their loved ones. There’s a real mental part of the physical healing portion of being in the hospital where if you don’t get to see your loved ones, especially, if you were in an isolation rooms alone, and the people that come in to talk to you to take care of you are all gowned up in PPE and masks and things like that, it could be a scary thing for the patient. We worked really hard to make sure that we could put hospital visits back in place as fast as possible, but you do lose a lot of the human interaction. You lose the the touch and emotionalism that comes with just laying hands on people, and being able to say, “Hey, it’s okay.” Holding someone’s hand or talking to them while you’re sitting down next to them and explaining to them what’s happening to them about their health.


THE HOSPITAL HAD TO ADAPT TO THE IMMEDIATE, AND, AT THE SAME TIME, YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR ATTENTION ON THE FUTURE. WHAT DO YOU SEE COMING FOR LAKEWOOD RANCH? GUZ: If anything, we were surprised by the amount of growth that’s happened over the last 12 months due to the pandemic. It’s growing because of the pandemic, not in spite of it. People make decisions, shoveling snow stinks, paying higher taxes stinks. Lakewood Ranch has done a great job at developing this area. I think; making it attractive if people do decide to move down here, so our biggest challenge is always trying to accommodate the growth. And people that are moving down from very well-developed urban areas, you know, the New York Citys or the Chicagos are surprised to learn that they can get the same level of care and have the same types of physicians they might have in Manhattan or on the upper East side. BOTH OF YOU SEE SUCH GROWTH OPPORTUNITY FOR THE REGION, WHICH MIGHT SURPRISE SOME WHO FEEL LIKE THE WORLD IS BLEAK RIGHT NOW. ZELNIKER: We see it booming, and, what I’m hearing Andy say is very similar to what we’re doing, where we’re adding capacity for that growth. One of the things that could become a problem for Lakewood Ranch is being a victim of its own success, where you have too many people come down here, then you have traffic, which I’m very well familiar with from New York. But more importantly than traffic is having the quality of service, whether it’s restaurants with quality food, whether it’s healthcare with capacity and quality doctors, whether it’s financial services or accountants or lawyers, it’s

one thing to have a volume of professionals. It’s another thing to have quality. And the people of Lakewood Ranch are tremendous people, there’s business owners, CEOs, athletes, entertainers. There’s a lot of high profile, high net worth individuals coming here with really complex issues. So, I don’t see growth as the problem. GUZ: I would agree with that. I think, much to Scott’s point, with so much growth happening, this last year has actually given us opportunities to rethink how we do certain things, and reinvent ourselves. I think that’s one of the things that everyone has been able to do and good organizations will come out stronger. Especially this year, I think you’ll see the ones that say, “Okay, what’s the new normal?” We can’t go back in time and change things, so how do you reenvision yourself as opposed to just adding on. WHAT ABOUT THE CHANGES WE HAVE SEEN IN HOW EITHER AFFLUENT POTENTIAL DONORS, OR GENEROUS BUSINESSES SUPPORT THEIR COMMUNITY. HOW HAS THAT CHANGED? ZELNIKER: We’re seeing a lot of people rethinking their philanthropy, their time, their money. We were all running 150 miles an hour before this started, and then all the old ways went off a cliff. We used to support so many events with 200 or 500 people attending, fundraisers for charities. That’s gone. So you do have to re-invent. This conversation, with Andy and myself, makes sense because people’s money and people’s health are their concern, numbers one and two. When they’re feeling okay, money is number one, when we are not well, then health is our biggest concern. As far as philanthropy, I’m hearing from a lot of clients and people that they’re torn about

where to put their support. A lot of them give to the arts but now they’re hearing about all these people, hungry and homeless, from the pandemic, and they’re really torn because they want to give where their passion is, but they also want to help people that are truly in need of survival. GUZ: My wife is actually a violist and plays in the Sarasota Orchestra and she hasn’t played at all with them for a year-and they’re almost fully supported by arts benefactors and people that are giving to them. Luckily I’m still employed, she wasn’t our only source of income, but some people have lost all income. I’m on the board for Meals on Wheels of Manatee, we had to continue to expand. You talked about hungry people, the amount of people that applied for Meals on Wheels, just to have food delivered to their homes almost doubled. A lot of those folks are elderly people. Luckily, there hasn’t been a huge drop-off in charitable donations. I’m on the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund board, and we’re thinking of new ways of how to reach donors, Meals on Wheels was able to raise money online. Also, organizations need to rethink how they reach people in need. The hospital used to have a monthly physician seminar at UTC, but we can’t do those at this time, we are taking more of these efforts digital as well. ZELNIKER: People are struggling at this point, but you hope that in a community, all ships are raised by a rising tide. But boy, there are a lot of ships in trouble. I think about living in the city, where people go out of their apartment building and they go across the street to their local diner for pancakes. That local diner might be closed now, so 12 people are out of work and that’s not a good thing, but people still want their pancakes. So where are they going to go? They’re going

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to go to the chains. They’re going to go to Dunkin Donuts. They’re going to go to McDonald’s. The big are getting bigger and people that were on the margins, maybe very successfully on the margins, small entrepreneurs, all of a sudden the rug got pulled out from under them. You see it at some of the charities. At Meals on Wheels you’ll have somebody pulling up in their BMW SUV for food and someone will say, “Why are they there? They don’t need it.” That’s not true. This recession was different than anything else. This pandemic didn’t care if you had money, if you didn’t have money, if you were a business owner, if you were a corporate executive. We were seeing layoffs all over the place. How we get back up is really through communal efforts. The sense of community in the bigger picture is going to bail us out. I mean, I’m a big believer in the American spirit, regardless of the politics. I think we’re a great nation made up of great people and it’s going to start neighbor-toneighbor. GUZ: One of the things that draws people to Lakewood Ranch in particular, is it’s a sense of community, even though it’s not generations of people that have lived here. You usually immediately get linked in with a neighborhood, because everyone here has a neighborhood that they live in, and then just the whole amount of community-wide events. Whether it was coming down to First Friday at Main Street and listening to a concert and seeing all the vendor booths or going to the farmer’s market, and now with Waterside coming up another communal spot that people will be able to be at. Right now, it’s hard to support the little local businesses if you’re stuck in your house, but we’re going to have to keep doing it when we can. We’ve lost some


businesses for good but I’m hoping that we’re able to get back to normal as soon as possible. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS? WHAT WILL LIFE BE LIKE IN ONE OR FIVE YEARS? GUZ: I’m on the optimistic side. I believe that, with vaccines rolling out now, getting as many people vaccinated as possible, well if we can get anywhere between 50 and 70% of people vaccinated, then by the summer I can see us being mostly open as an economy and as a community, as we sort of are already, but with a lot less of the anxiety and fear. I think that here in Lakewood Ranch we have an opportunity to be national leaders. We do have the ability to be outside where it’s a little bit safer. We have the ability to hopefully get everybody vaccinated as well. We’re focusing on nursing homes and hospital workers and things like that. Once we start getting a lot of the general population vaccinated, it’s going to create a good momentum that will help us into the future. So I’m hoping that we are less than a year from being back normal. I can tell you that we’ve re-envisioned ourselves as a hospital and we’re planning on not having as much pandemic response needed in the later part of this year. AND, SCOTT, REALLY THE SAME QUESTION. I WOULD ADD TO IT THE LAST BIG BLOW OUR ECONOMY TOOK—THE GREAT RECESSION AND THROUGH A LONG SHADOW. THE RECOVERY WAS NOT A FAST PROCESS. DO YOU THINK THAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR THAT AGAIN OR DO YOU THINK IT’S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT? ZELNIKER: I’ll speak to the economic recovery. We’ve gone through a digital transformation now. Starting with

the 1600s you had the agricultural revolution, then the 1800s, you had the industrial revolution, we’re going through a technology revolution right now. It started, give or take, in 1980. So it’s about 40 years on, and the rate of change has accelerated beyond anybody’s dreams. The past nine months especially. A company like Zoom that might’ve taken five, 10 years to become relevant and instead they became relevant overnight. Jobs are going to change. And it’s true that some people are going to get left behind. So the key is going to be education. We have to reeducate and re-train people for these new roles because the digital economy is here. The new technology economy is here to stay. It’s actually big for the corporate bottom line. Remember, the market has no conscience, right? So as companies lay off employees and they get more digital and more efficient, then when their business comes back, more of that dollar goes to the bottom line. I’m expecting a pretty darn strong economy, and it’s going to be up to the individuals to get themselves retrained and use their abilities to get on board for that train. I’m optimistic about what Andy said, and while I don’t want to use the words “the worst is behind us,” I see the light at the end of the tunnel and the tunnel doesn’t look quite as long as it used to. I’m proud to be part of this Lakewood Ranch community. I love it. I get excited by it. I see the growth that is happening here. I have friends up North say, “Oh, are you going down to Florida to retire?” And I say, “quite the contrary, I’m running harder than ever.” What we do, we can help our neighbors down here achieve better financial outcomes, and in doing that, we take a burden off of people when people are worrying

about money. I think if we can take that off people’s plates and help them achieve better financial outcomes, they will be happier. And by extension, they will be healthier. So that’s what I’m here for. GUZ: I have the same thought process. I think the exciting thing about living in Lakewood Ranch is that not only do we have a more optimistic outlook of things than some areas, but every day there’s a new person to meet in town or a new business that’s starting and people are coming from all over. I think we’re getting the best of the best moving down here, those that are able to, and those that see the opportunity. I think you do see a little bit different of a breed of people that moved down here in terms of opportunity seekers and entrepreneurs and folks that just are excited about growth and, and what this community offers. I’m excited about that as a person that runs the hospital, because it means that we have more people to be able to take care of. But just as a resident as well, it’s exciting to see the new things that happen. I’m from the rust belt, so there has not been a ton of growth where I was from. So it’s always exciting to see new things being built and new people coming into town. LL

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Vivian Torres, MD

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HOW DOES YOUR PRACTICE IMPROVE THE LIFE OF YOUR PATIENTS? My philosophy of patient care is that the patient comes first. My ultimate goal is to improve their quality of life. It is important that I listen to the patient and learn what really matters to them in order to treat them appropriately. Everybody is different, what works for a patient with a particular problem may not work for a patient with the same or similar problem. My role is that of an educator foremost. With my base of knowledge, training, and craft, I aim to improve my patient’s quality of life by helping them feel well enough to enjoy doing the things that are important to them in life and by giving them the tools to live a longer, healthier life.

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ABOUT DR. VIVIAN TORRES Born in Brooklyn and raised in Puerto Rico, Dr. Torres followed the footsteps of a long lineage of doctors and graduated medical school Magna Cum Laude. After completing her fellowship in Vascular Surgery, she moved to Florida for its emerald beaches and, most importantly, proximity to family. In her spare time you can find her rollerblading at the Benderson Park, riding her motorcycle, travelling, or relaxing by the water with her family and friends.

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Play Ball


Lakewood Ranch has a seemingly endless list of venues to lace up and hit the field.

BEYOND THE COUNTLESS PERKS of a Florida lifestyle, an undeniable draw for the sporting crowd is an outdoor season that lasts year round. With the freedom for sunshine sports any month of the year, these Lakewood Ranch locations host everything from professional soccer matches to championship golf tournaments. As either a player or spectator, you can get your sport fix somewhere on this list. Sarasota Surge Rugby Club America might be the land of the free and the home of football, but its worldly cousin Rugby has made its way over and is taking Lakewood Ranch and the states by storm. Founded in 2010 by a group of American and international rugby players, the Sarasota Surge Rugby Club aims to fill a sports gap in the area. President Gary Jones, who grew up in England, missed

the club atmosphere that didn’t seem to exist in typical US sports. “Rugby teams are like a family. It’s our ethos. We focus on integrity and honor above all else and try to foster players in an all-inclusive environment. We are more grassroots than formal but with strict discipline in our teaching and playing.” The 501(c)(3) nonprofit makes sports accessible to everyone with “every penny donated going directly back into the youth

program.” In affluent Lakewood Ranch, this helps develop players of every background and fosters positive impact beyond just those who can afford to play other team sports. With many families and players turning away from traditional tackle football, rugby is a great alternative. Teamwork and sportsmanship are at the core of rugby’s foundational teachings, and the Sarasota Surge Rugby Club focuses on this immensely during their season September through April. A men’s league along with an under eight and under 19 team help to keep up the club. As Gary notes, “You have parents who can’t get their kids out of bed for anything. But they join rugby and have a community and suddenly they’re up at 8am on a Saturday morning to go pull weeds on club days.” 7401 University Parkway, Bradenton; 941-720-1717; sarasotarugbyclub@gmail.com Lakewood Ranch Pickleball Club With close to 500 members, the Lakewood Ranch Pickleball Club shows no signs of slowing down. Every morning, there are games at the Lakewood Ranch High School that has five pickleball outdoor courts, and with stadium lights, both those retired and at work have opportunities to play. LWR Pickleball Club President Bob Haskin remarks how the club just seems to grow and grow. “We probably get three to four new people joining a week. We recently started a round-robin-style play for all different skill levels and we’re starting an open league where people select a partner and can play whenever suits them. Freelance play if you will.” With eight teams in total, this large co-ed sport is great for everyone from novice to beginner. The club also offers clinics and private lessons for those wanting to improve their game. lwrpickleballclub.com Premier Sports Campus Lakewood Ranch Schroeder-Manatee Ranch built the Premier Sports Campus in 2011 with the hopes of showcasing Lakewood Ranch. With hundreds of players and their families coming through the campus to play various sports, executive director Elliot Falcione noted how they hoped “people would fall in love with the Lakewood Ranch way of life and come here to build a home or relocate their business.” Studies show


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that first-time visitors return at a 94 percent rate within one year. Impressive results for moms and dads bringing their kids down for a weekend sports game on one of the campus’s nearly 250 acres of 23 mixed-use FIFA-regulation fields. From youth sports to professional tournaments athletes from around the city, state and county visit the turf year-round. The campus is available for both league games and practices on beautiful fields sodded with Celebration turf, unique for its drought resistance, its aid in injury recovery and impressive wear tolerance. Eight fields feature lights for night games, and since this is Florida, the campus is outfitted with 65,000 feet of underground irrigation for flood prevention during heavy rains. Upcoming events include The Dimitri Cup (soccer), two Ultimate Long Drive Championships (golf), and a high school Lacrosse Against Leukemia benefit preseason. To put into perspective the huge economic impact the Premier Sports Campus has had on the area, Falcione breaks it down: “Of the 41 tournaments played at the campus last year, we helped generate 40,000 booked hotel rooms, which added approximately $43 million into Manatee County.” 5895 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, 941-757-1582, Sarasota Polo Club Back in 1922, the Uihlein family of Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company bought a timber ranch in Sarasota filled with cowboys who would play amateur polo in their free time. Outfitted in makeshift equipment, the ranch hands who fell off their horses had to buy beers for the winners. These days, “what began as the first development in Lakewood Ranch has evolved from knock-around ‘Cowboy Polo’ into one of the largest and most dedicated polo communities in the world,” says Ron Trytek of Sarasota Polo. Now it’s a “premier luxury sporting destination,” featuring more than 40 private equestrian estates, seven Bermuda grass fields, a half-mile horse track and boarding facilities for 70-plus horses. Hosting top players from around the world and nationally, the 2021 season has public matches every Sunday at 1pm through April 25. Gates open at 10am. Beyond offering polo as a spectator sport, the Sarasota Polo Club also offers lessons. Classes are available throughout the week and provide new riders with equipment and, of course, the most important part—a horse. Additionally, a more intensive Polo School program allows novice riders to sign up for a 10-week course. Open to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, this unique and exciting opportunity gives curious learners a personally tailored experience. The oldest team sport in the world, more than 2,500 years old, Ron Trytek sums up this incredible sport: “As both the sport of kings and the fastest game on four feet, there is nothing else like it. Polo is an exhilarating exhibition of teamwork and coordination between horse and rider.” 8201 Polo Club Ln., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-0000. Bradenton Sarasota Ultimate Frisbee If you’re in the mood for something a little outside the box, Ultimate Frisbee provides a sporty outlet with a unique spin. Played with the plastic neon disc we all knew as kids, this game gets groups together for fun and sportsmanship that doesn’t require years of training. Located behind the Lakewood Ranch High School, the Ultimate Frisbee group is open for all levels. A Facebook group operates as the players main form of communication and allows anyone to join in on the fun. Simply check the page each week to see when pickup games have been planned and like or comment if you want to join. Most games run on Saturday or Sunday at 3pm. 5490 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton. LL


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Profile for SRQME

Living Lakewood | SPRING | March 2021  

Capturing the growth, business, lifestyle and homes of one of the fastest growing communities in the United States. Featuring outdoor parks...

Living Lakewood | SPRING | March 2021  

Capturing the growth, business, lifestyle and homes of one of the fastest growing communities in the United States. Featuring outdoor parks...

Profile for srqme