Friday, January 4, 2019

Former Publix #29, Ringling Shopping Center, Sarasota, FL.

Publix #29 (1955-2011) (demolished)
Ringling Shopping Center
282 Shopping Avenue (Ringling Blvd. & Lime Ave.)
Sarasota, FL 34237

#29 in July 2012.
Photo courtesy: Flickr

     Store #29, Sarasota's first Publix, opened on March 29, 1955.  Its adjacent plaza, Ringling Shopping Center, also Sarasota's first, was developed by Publix later, and celebrated its grand opening on November 15, 1955.

#29 shortly before its opening in 1955.
Photo courtesy: Sarasota Herald-Tribune archives
#29 in 1955.
Photo courtesy: Pleasant Family Shopping

     At 23,000 square feet, store #29 was the largest Publix in the chain when it opened.  However, that distinction lasted a brief 7 months until Publix opened its next store, #30, Northgate Shopping Center, Tampa, with 24,000 square feet in November 1955.  #29 was the last Publix built using the Art Deco design.

Photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Times, October 2, 1956 

     Ringling Shopping Center's original anchors were Publix, Woolworth's, Belk-Lindsey, and Touchton's Rexall Drugs.

Photo courtesy: Pinterest

     In 1966, the store's facade was updated to the Wing architecture, but some of the Art Deco elements remained.

Photo courtesy: Facebook
Photo courtesy: Sarasota Herald-Tribune

     In the late 1970s, Publix expanded to the south, and the entire center received a face-lift in 1979.  With this expansion came an extensive tile mural, provided by tile artist Pati Mills.

when the store was still active in 2011
Posted by James Sudduth on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

     This video, posted to the "If you grew up in Sarasota, FL...then you remember" Facebook group in December 2018, shows the store had the Wavy Pastel interior up until the end, and probably hadn't been remodeled since the early 1990s.

Photo courtesy: Facebook

     On November 9, 2011, being the oldest store in the chain, Publix closed #29 in favor of #1372 down the road at S. Tamiami Trail (US 41) & Bay Street.

     For the next seven years, the former Publix space and the rest of Ringling Shopping Center languished while developers and city council debated what to do about the derelict property.  In 2013, a 98,000 square foot Walmart was proposed for the property, but that was rejected by the Sarasota City Council due to neighborhood objection.  Two years later, the city rezoned the property to allow mixed-use residential and commercial.  In April 2017, a proposal to redevelop the center into 4 apartment buildings was filed and later approved.

     Here's a look at Ringling Shopping Center in 2018, a few months before demolition.  The marble walls are the original from 1955.  The "Please - No Bikes on Sidewalk!" signs date back to at least the 1970s.

#29 being demolished.
Photo courtesy: Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Ringling's demolition in 2018 revealed a facade not seen in over 40 years.
Photo courtesy: Facebook

     Demolition of Ringling Shopping Center concluded in December 2018, with the apartments scheduled to be completed in early 2020.

Thanks for stopping by, and until next time,


  1. Very cool finds with all the images and videos in this post!

    1. Thanks - I couldn't get down to Sarasota in time before demolition started, so I figured s̶t̶e̶a̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ borrowing others' images and videos would better convey the post. :)

    2. You're welcome! I definitely understand that logic :) I've done the same thing myself, haha!

    3. When did the Publix at Northgate Shopping center Tampa in What year Close in?

  2. When did the Northgate Shopping center Tampa Publix Close?

  3. Thank you so much so sharing the video and information! I’m 25 years old now and I’m thankful I got to see it in person before it was demolished, thank you for that! Really means a lot that someone cares enough to share information and video of how it was.