Crescent Beach Grocery offers an interesting shopping experience

| March 1, 2015

Think of all the things you want in a grocery store on Siesta Key:DSC_1799

  • A complete selection of grocery items
  • Friendly, personal service
  • The best cold cuts and sandwiches you can find
  • Unusual and delicious salads made on the premises
  • Top-quality meats
  • Specialty items that you don’t find everywhere
  • Fresh produce
  • A fantastic selection of wines
  • Craft-brewed beers
  • A convenient location on the island
  • Historic photographs of Siesta Key
  • Delivery anywhere on the Key.

DSC_1829All of these things – and more – are available to you at the Crescent Beach Grocery, courtesy of owners Nancy Connelly and Bill Singleton, who have dedicated themselves to providing great products, great service and an interesting shopping experience to the residents and visitors of Siesta Key.

What you probably don’t think of in a small grocery is owners with multiple degrees in archaeology and anthropology and careers as far removed from retail sales as anyone could imagine. “I was a practicing archaeologist for several years, both here in the United States and in various African countries,” notes Bill. “After that, I directed Information Technology organizations in several colleges and universities. I don’t think I ever sold anyone as much as a can of beans or book of matches before coming to Sarasota and opening the grocery. So you can’t say that I was exactly well-prepared for this transition.”

“Nancy, at least, has a background that is deeply connected to this property and this store. Her father, George Connelly, opened the first grocery, the Crescent Beach Grocery and Sundries (later The Beach Shop) on Siesta Key right here in 1952 and purchased the property later that year. He ran the grocery personally until his health failed and he was forced to sell the business in the ‘70’s. To the best of my knowledge, Nancy never actually worked at the store, but she did spend time here while growing up.”

Nancy earned a Ph.D. in anthropology and, after teaching for a few years, began a professional career as a Museum Director. Eventually, she became the Executive Director of a large national organization as well as its museum and school.

“During this time, my mother’s health began to fail and, as an only child, I had to spend more and more time taking care of her and helping her manage the property,” notes Nancy. “It became obvious that she needed me full time, so Bill and I quit our jobs and moved to Sarasota to help her. Having made that decision, it became obvious that taking back the grocery was the best way for us to help my mother and make a living for ourselves.”

“Once we made that decision,” says Nancy, we worked very hard to make sure that our grocery would be a place WE would like to shop and spend time. Whether you live on the Key or are visiting, once you get on the island, you don’t want to leave,” says Nancy. “One of our main goals was to make sure that grocery shopping is not something that will take you away from your island state of mind.”

Bill, adds, “Something in our backgrounds made us very serious about providing for our customers’

Crescent Beach Grocery offers sodas from our childhood

Crescent Beach Grocery offers sodas from our childhood

needs and trying to find new items that make grocery shopping a time of discovery as well as an enjoyable experience. We have tried to incorporate that approach into how we run the store and its different areas.”

One of the areas that the owners are extremely proud of is the delicatessen. “The Deli, under its Manager Roy Dimascio, has become a destination in its own right,” says Nancy. “We have a wide variety of items that we make here and Roy is always adding some different choices to our offerings. We get rave reviews from our customers for just about all of the new creations he and his staff add to our inventory. Roy also makes the Deli a fun place to visit with his positive attitude and great sense of humor.”

As Bill notes, “Both Nancy and I have a background that is extremely service oriented and we view the grocery as a service to our customers as much as a place to buy things. We like to have fun and we want our customers to have fun while they are here. After all, if you are a visitor, you are on vacation on a beautiful island with a world-class beach. If you are a resident, you live on a beautiful island with a world-class beach. So why not enjoy yourself! If we can bring that attitude into the store with our customers, then we feel we are succeeding. And we think our customers will agree.”

Part of the couple’s idea of having fun is to offer services like wine tastings to their customers. “We’re going to have about four tastings during the Season this year,” explains Bill. “We like to keep them small and personal and to have the opportunity to offer a number of wines to our customers that they may not have heard of.”

It is not just a delicatessen and wine tastings that the Crescent Beach Grocery offers. “We are, after all,” says Nancy, “a grocery. In fact, our goal is to be the best small independent grocery in Sarasota. We have all of the normal grocery items and a number of things you won’t find elsewhere. We offer a top-notch deli with store-made salads, great quality meats and cheeses and the best sandwiches on the Key — all of which are made to order. Our meat is famous, and not just on the Key. People come across from the mainland just to buy steaks here.”

“I could go on and on about the store,” enthuses Nancy, “because I just love it. But the best thing for people to do is come here and see for themselves. We are open from 8 am to 9 pm every day. Come visit us, and while you are here, check out the pictures of historic Siesta Key that we have hanging throughout the store and enjoy yourself. Maybe you’ll even find something to buy.”

Aerial view of CBGCrescent Beach Grocery
1211 Old Stickney Point Road
Siesta Key, (941)312-0472
www.crescentbeachgrocery.com

 

 

 

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