Monday, September 29, 2014

Little information trickling out about Sarasota Dillard's (Updated)

Dillard's under construction at Mall at University Town Center.
Dillard's is building a mystery over  how it will transition from its Westfield Southgate Mall store to its new store at the  Mall at University Town Center this month.

The mall is only 17 days from opening, but despite little information being shared, a company spokeswoman assured that the new store will be ready for an Oct. 16 opening and actually may have a soft opening with limited hours prior to the 16th.

One detail the Bradenton Herald confirmed Monday is that the new Dillard's will be only one of 43 Dillard's in the country to showcase James Avery jewelry as part of a companywide partnership starting in mid-October.

The family-run jeweler out of Kerrville, Texas, will have its men's and women's jewelry showcased inside those Dillard's stores in only 15 states. Dillard's at the Mall at University Town Center, International Plaza in Tampa, Westfield Countryside in Clearwater, Florida Mall in Orlando and Pembroke Lake in Pembroke Pines are the Florida stores carrying the jewelry.

“As we enter our 60th year, we are very pleased to be entering this relationship with Dillard's, a company that shares our values of integrity, ingenuity, and a commitment to genuine, caring customer service. We are looking forward to working with the Dillard’s team to offer customers a nice selection of artfully crafted James Avery designs,” said Chris Avery, president and CEO of James Avery Jewelry in a statement.

Dillard's will have an announcement this week for more details about the new store, according to a company spokeswoman, and the Bradenton Herald will have a sneak peek of the store before the opening.

Time is ticking for Dillard's to transfer its employees to the new store and get ready.

Mall management said they have not heard from corporate officials what the plan will be for transferring employees to the new store. There was some trepidation Monday in one manager's comments on whether the new store will be ready for the grand opening on Oct. 16, though.

At the Southgate Dillard's Monday, the store looks like it could close any day, if not by this weekend. About half of the store is empty and the men's department is having a sale of 50 percent off the lowest ticketed price on most items. That was on top of a 65 percent off the original price. That means a $60 polo shirt could be had for $11 after tax. If shoppers are looking for any bargain deals at this Dillard's, get it now.

Employees said they still haven't heard anything from corporate, but one heard that they would be transferred Oct. 5. Store manager Phillip O'Nan said he has not been given any date by the corporate office. He directed all other questions to the company's headquarters.

A Florida-based Dillard's spokeswoman said she did not have that information Monday.

Another Dillard's spokeswoman told the Bradenton Herald earlier this month that the company hasn't decided whether the Southgate location will be a clearance center for awhile or close when the new store opens.

When Dillard's closed the DeSoto Square and Sarasota Square stores in November 2009 and December 2009, respectively, exact closing dates weren't announced until October 2009. 

Dillard's can go at its own pace in Southgate as the Little Rock, Ark., retailer owns that building. The new Dillard's will be a two-level 180,000-square-foot store while the Southgate store is a one-level, 97,000-square-foot store.

The Mall at UTC location will be the first new Dillard's store since 2010.

Capital Grille to open Oct. 17 at Mall at University Town Center

The Capital Grille under construction at The Mall at University Town Center.
Folks wanting a fine steak dinner at the new Capital Grille will have to wait one extra day.

The Capital Grille at the Mall at University Town Center will open Oct. 17, one day after the new mall opens.

The Capital Grille will be open seven days a week, serving lunch Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and dinner Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m. The lounge is open daily. Reservations are recommended, but not required. Call 941-256-3647 or visit to make a reservation.

The Capital Grille, owned by Orlando's Darden Restaurants, is known for its dry aged, hand-carved steaks in an upscale environment.

The Capital Grille Sarasota seats about 276 people in the main dining room and three private dining rooms. The Sarasota location will also have a lounge area that extends to an outdoor patio area.

“Sarasota’s thriving business community, coupled with University Town Center’s retail focus, has provided an ideal location to introduce The Capital Grille to the area,” said Timothy Fanning, managing partner of The Capital Grille Sarasota. “We embrace the opportunity to provide guests with our unique dining experience and eagerly await the restaurant’s opening.”

The restaurant's dinner menu includes;

• Dry Aged Porterhouse Steak
• Bone-In Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin with Shallot Butter
• Pan-Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers
• Lobster and Crab Cakes
• Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon
• Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese
• Parmesan Truffle Fries
• Classic Crème Brûlée

For those who don't want to plop down some hefty coin, The Capital Grille offers a lunch menu that features a Kona Crusted Wagyu Burger with Shallot Mayo, and the ‘Plates’ lunch menu, which allows diners a choice of soup or salad and an entrée for $18. The Plates menu offers seasonal selections with a fine dining twist.

The restaurant's wine list features more than 350 selections picked by master sommelier George Miliotes, who is on Twitter @TheWineExpert. Miliotes is only one of 219 master sommeliers around the world. His wine list includes affordable bottles under $30 as well as vintage and limited production wines. The Capital Grille also offers a private wine locker membership, too, where members get an inscribed brushed silver name plate on their locker.

The Capital Grille can also host special events with customized menus by executive chef Matthew Lewis.

So far, BRIO Tuscan Grille, Cheesecake Factory, Seasons 52 and Sophie's inside the Mall at UTC are scheduled to open Oct. 16. Burger and Beer Joint expects to open by Black Friday, leaving Kona Grill the only full-service restaurant not to have an announced opening date. Based on the certificate of occupancy on file, it ought to be open during the grand opening weekend.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Auntie Anne's, Rise Pies holding open interviews for new mall locations

Auntie Anne's Pretzels will hold open interviews this week for available jobs at its new Mall at University Town Center location.

Interviews will be held at its Sarasota Square Mall food court location, 8201 S. Tamiami Trail, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Both locations are hiring for crew members and shift managers, according to a job posting.

The franchise locations are being operated by Chestnutland of Boardman, Ohio, which is the largest franchisee of Auntie Anne's.

The same company is holding open interviews for a new pizza concept it's opening at the mall called Rise Pies.

Rise Pies will hold open interviews from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at Hyatt Place Sarasota, 950 University Parkway, Sarasota. The pizza place needs both managers and crew members.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Godiva to hold job fair for new Mall at University Town Center store

Chocolate fanatics looking for a job will have a chance to apply for a gig at Godiva next week.

Godiva will have a job fair at the Courtyard Marriott, 8305 Tourist Center Drive, University Park, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 24.

The store is hiring for management, sales associates and part-time key holders.

Applicants can either apply in-person at the job fair or visit an existing Godiva location, which include Westfield Brandon, International Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa.

The Mall at UTC store will be a 821-square-foot boutique located on the first floor of the mall, in the grand court.

Godiva will be part of a line-up of more than 100 stores and restaurants inside the mall when it opens Oct. 16

More Mall at University Town Center jobs can be found on this blog and at

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pre-plan shopping trip with map of Mall at University Town Center

Thanks to the great work of Bradenton Herald designer Alex Barrett, shoppers can try to navigate their first trip to the Mall at University Town Center.

The map below was created with information based on store announcements, interviews and permit information from Sarasota County Building and Development Services. Not all stores shown below will open on the mall's first day, Oct. 16. At least one restaurant confirmed as much, Beer and Burger Joint, which aims to open by Black Friday.

Spaces are shown to be representative of the mall and could change by opening, especially the size of the vacant spaces as permits continue to be filed. Mall officials expect store openings to last through spring of 2015.

Southgate Mall's Williams-Sonoma sets closing date for UTC move

CHARLES SCHELLE/Bradenton Herald
Another store at the Westfield Southgate Mall in Sarasota has set its closing date in preparation for a move to the Mall at University Town Center.

Williams-Sonoma has a sign at its store front telling customers it will close Oct. 1 so it can open its new store inside of the Mall at UTC on Oct. 16. 

The cooking specialty store joins Saks Fifth Avenue, announcing a firm closing date at Southgate. Saks told the Bradenton Herald earlier this month that it will close at 6 p.m. Oct. 6 and transfer all remaining merchandise to the new store.

Expect more of these types of announcements as Tuesday will mark 30 days until the new mall opens. It would appear that Dillard's is a good candidate to make such an announcement. 

After Labor Day, the Bradenton Herald also reported how the Southgate Dillard's hasn't received a shipment of new inventory in months and many racks had sales of 65 percent off. Many of those racks remain well after Labor Day, but the biggest difference is that the racks and shelves are noticeably empty and thin. The store could either close or become a clearance center, but no official announcement has been made.

The Mall at UTC Dillard's will be the Little Rock, Ark., company's first new store opening in the U.S. since 2010.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Banana Republic to hold job fair for new Mall at University Town Center store

Courtesy of Banana Republic
Banana Republic will hold a job fair Wednesday for its new Mall at University Town Center store.

The job fair will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at CareerSource Suncoast Sarasota, 3660 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota.

Banana Republic is looking to hire store associates, according to the job posting.

All job candidates must register at, and upload a resume before the hiring event.

The two-level, upscale mall is expected to open Oct. 16 on the corner of Cattlemen Road and University Parkway.

For more job postings for the Mall at UTC, visit this listing of Mall at UTC job openings on this blog and on the CareerSuncoast website.

Cache to hold job fair for new Mall at University Town Center store

Women's clothing and accessories store Cache will hold a job fair Sept. 16 for its new Mall at University Town Center store.

Cache's job fair will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at CareerSource Suncoast Sarasota, 3660 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota.

Cache is looking to hire a store manager, retail stylist and assistant manager, according to the job posting.

All job candidates must register at, apply for the jobs by emailing before attending the job fair and gain a referral for the job before interviewing.

The two-level, upscale mall is expected to open Oct. 16 on the corner of Cattlemen Road and University Parkway.

For more job postings for the Mall at UTC, visit this listing of Mall at UTC job openings on this blog and on the CareerSuncoast website.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rise Pies to hold job fair for Mall at University Town Center

Concept of Rise Pies at the Mall at University Town Center.
Rendering Provided
New fast-casual pizza concept Rise Pies will have a job fair next week for its Mall at University Town Center restaurant.

The company, based in Youngstown, Ohio, is hiring for assistant managers, shift managers and crew members. Assistant managers are salaried, receives benefits and eligible for bonuses, according to an ad by the company. Other workers can start at $9 per hour.

The fair will be held at the Hampton Inn and Suites, 8565 Cooper Creek Blvd., University Park from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 10 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 11.
This will be the second Rise Pies location in the nation. The Herald spoke to the company's founders in January about the restaurant:
"It's the whole assembly line concept where you build your own pizza, pick your toppings and it cooks in a high-quality oven you'd see in a sit-down restaurant," Rise Pies President Eddie Muransky said. "It cooks in two-and-a-half to three minutes."
Rise Pies is part of the Chestnut Land Co. and Muransky Cos., owned by Eddie Muransky's father Edward W. Muransky. The company oversees most of the Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzel franchises plus an acute care hospital and a country club in Youngstown.
Auntie Anne's is also coming to the Mall at UTC, the younger Muransky said, and the pizza concept developed because he wanted to offer a pizza concept to pair with Auntie Anne's when they talked with malls for new locations. The company could help fill a pizza void for the 155 mall locations shuttered by Italian chain Sbarro this year.
The Muransky Cos. is teaming up with a Youngstown area chef, Vernon Cesta, to launch the company. Cesta and Muransky will open the first Rise Pies in Youngstown in August before opening the Sarasota County location in October.
"If you're not familiar with northeast Ohio, this is an old Italian immigrant community," Muransky said. "We have some of the best pizza around."
Cesta's recipes will replicated flatbread-style pizzas, he said. The pizza joint will offer more than 20 toppings, three crusts (including gluten free), six different sauces and seven different cheeses, Muransky said. There also will be about seven pre-set pizzas.

Muranksy's father Edward Muransky is a retired NFLer who won Super Bowl XVII with the Oakland Raiders.
Read more here: