Opening Act at the Lido Casino in 1940

By | July 31, 2014

Rudy Bundy OrchestraOn Garfield Drive, not too far from the famous Lido Casino, a comfortable but unpretentious house was noted for its unique fence. Carved in wood across the length were the first five bars of home owner’s theme song, “Thrill!” Inside, one of the rooms was filled with photographs and mementos of a life in the spotlight.

For many years this was the home of Rudy Bundy, a nationally known bandleader during the big band era who brought his 12-piece orchestra to Sarasota in 1940 to be the casino’s opening act.

The Rudy Bundy Orchestra was the first big-time band to hit Sarasota since the Great Depression and they were an exciting act to listen to and watch. They had played the Palace Theater in New York and also headlined in nationally known clubs around the country. Their music was carried coast to coast on CBS and the Mutual Broadcasting System and they were recorded by RCA Victor.

Outfitted in brown slacks, tan double-breasted coats, and white and brown wing-tipped shoes, the orchestra was an impressive-looking group. As an ad for the Lido Casino put it, “On Lido Beach the nights are enchanting…it’s time to listen to Rudy Bundy’s music borne on the soft breezes of the Gulf of Mexico.” In fact, on calm evenings, Bundy’s music could be heard at his house by his wife, Katie.
Pounding out such swing-era dance music as “Begin the Beguine,” “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” “I’ll Get By” and, of course, “Thrill!” the group wowed the revelers that festive December evening.

It was to have been a limited engagement, but shortly after the celebratory opening, Bundy returned, built his home on Garfield Avenue, and stayed to become one of Sarasota’s most popular performers.

One of Bundy’s fans who would become a lifelong friend was circus boss and would-be musician (he played the sax), John Ringling North, president of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. North, who loved to party into the wee hours, hit on the idea of opening an upscale nightclub with Bundy as the “draw.”

As Bundy told the story, one night they went to North’s uncle John Ringling’s old real estate office on St. Armands Circle, broke into the musty place for a look-see and determined that it wasn’t large enough for their purposes. Next stop for the duo was the John Ringling Hotel, which North would imbue with the trappings of the circus. It was here he decided to open the M’Toto Room lounge, telling Bundy that if it didn’t work out, they could drink all the booze themselves. But the M’Toto Room quickly became a hit, for may years the focal point of Sarasota’s nightlife – Bundy playing his “sizzling clarinet,” occasionally accompanied by North.

Bund, who had started playing professionally in the 1920s, gave up his band – but not his clarinet or his music – in 1954 and devoted himself for quite some time to the circus; North had asked him to be his assistant and treasurer. He would later be vice president.

Always popular, a gentleman with a ready smile, Bundy continued playing music into the 1980s. He died on August 1, 2000. He was 93 years-old and had brought countless hours of listening pleasure to music lovers around the country.

Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive!

Joe Cleary is a Broker Associate with The Cleary Group at RE/MAX Alliance Group. He is a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute (GRI), Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and a certified Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR). Call Joe with any real estate questions you may have toll free at 877-814-1233!

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Zillow Buys Trulia for $3.5 Billion – Can Real Estate Survive?

By | July 28, 2014

Zillow Buys TruliaLet me start by saying that I personally and professionally like Zillow, Trulia, and It’s incredibly clear that internet advertising is the most effective form of advertising and at least these companies provide a great centralized medium for agents to advertise. The long and the short of it is that buyers overwhelmingly LOVE these sites, so if we as agents don’t accept them, we’re fighting a losing battle against the trend.

That said, here are some takeaways for interested observers:

Zillow and Trulia are updated automatically through RETS syndication from the MyFloridaRegionalMLS (the local MLS). The problem is that Zillow and Trulia also grab listings from RSS feeds and then guess which feed they want to use (and they don’t always guess the MLS feed, which is the most up to date). Both companies have contracts with other vendors like RealtyTrac and CoreLogic to show unmarketed listings (pre-foreclosure and foreclosure) and their numbers are padded with homes not actually on the market. Because their sources aren’t always updated through no fault of the agent they sometimes get conflicting information and will as a result display outdated info., BTW, is the only major national player that gets its listing info directly through the MLS. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not associated with the National Association of Realtors. 

The reality is that individual agent websites using IDX feeds are actually more accurate than Zillow or Trulia but aren’t as user friendly and certainly don’t get the number of ‘hits’ that the big 3 get (including  If you’d like a great example of an IDX feed that CAN compete and is more up-to-date than the major players, check out

That said, I think it’s a bad development within the industry as Zillow consolidates its already considerable hold on internet marketing. They’re a stone’s throw away from displacing MLS’s altogether which risks causing a huge step backwards for real estate transactions. I’m NOT talking about protecting our butts as agents – like all industries, we have to adapt to the times – but real estate sales without MLS rules has a long history of dishonesty and misinformation. Customers don’t know and agents often forget that the MLS is not just our listing database. It’s the binding core that allows us to cross-promote properties, self-regulate our industry, and provide enforceable standards of ethics to which professionals must comply. 

Zillow is the biggest single threat to MLS’s everywhere and if it does indeed displace true real estate brokerage then you’re going to see a lot of swampland in Florida for sale.

Alex Krumm is a Broker-Associate with Re/Max Alliance Group, a short sale expert, and a GRI.  He's a service oriented agent with the state-of-the-art tools to empower you in your next real estate transaction. You can also see him online at

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August in Sarasota

By | July 28, 2014

August 2014

August 2014

There are so many things to do in paradise this month. It’s a great time to get out and enjoy all that our area has to offer. Here’s just a few of the activities happening in the area during the month of August:

Date Event or Activity Location Click Link forMore Information
Aug. 1st Music on Main Lakewood Ranch Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Aug. 1st Palm Avenue Art Walk Sarasota Palm Avenue Merchants
Aug. 1-2nd Village of the Arts Artwalk Bradenton Village of the Arts
Aug. 1-3rd Florida State Championship Ballroom Dancing Sarasota Florida DanceSport Championship
Aug. 1-17 “Taking Shakespeare” Sarasota Florida Studio Theatre
Aug. 1-24th Summer Cabaret Festival Venice Venice Stage
Aug. 2nd Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market Sarasota Sarasota Farmer’s Market
Aug. 4-9th Get Golf Ready Sarasota Adaptive Golf Academy
Aug. 5-31st “Somewhere Over the Rose” Sarasota Florida Studio Theatre
Aug. 6th Lakewood Ranch Main Street Classic Car Show Lakewood Ranch Cruisin
Aug. 7th Art After 5 Sarasota Ringling Museum of Art
Aug. 7-17th “Talking With” Sarasota The Players Theatre
Aug. 8th Bradenton Car Show Bradenton Cruisin
Aug. 9th ReptiDay: Sarasota Reptile & Exotic Animal Show Sarasota ReptiDay
Aug. 14th Art & A Movie: “How Do They Know It’s Authentic?” Sarasota Ringling Museum of Art
Aug. 15th The Billly Rice Band and “The Last Waltz” Bradenton South Florida Museum
Aug. 16th Venice Farmer’s Market Venice City of Venice
Aug. 18th Towles Court Art Walk Sarasota Towles Court
Aug. 22nd Friday Night Live Free Concert Venice City of Venice
Aug. 22nd Friday Fest Featuring SoulRcoaster Sarasota Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Aug. 23rd Arts & Crafts Sunday Bradenton Mixon Fruit Farms
Aug. 23rd North River Rolling Renegades Roller Derby Sarasota North River Rolling Renegades
Aug. 25-27th Bradenton Marauders Home Games Bradenton Minor League Baseball
Aug. 30th Gator Creek Band Concert at Historic Spanish Point Sarasota Historic Spanish Point

Call us when you are ready to make your move! To search for homes in the area go to Search for Sarasota Homes. We’re here to help you every step of the way…call us today!

Susan Guice is a Licensed Real Estate Assistant with The Cleary Group in Sarasota.

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Christmas in July

By | July 14, 2014

Christmas in JulyChristmas in July returns to Historic Downtown Venice on Friday and Saturday, July 18 & 19th
If you haven’t been to the Island of Venice lately… now’s the time to make it a day trip.
Bring your shopping bags because with over 50 retail stores and restaurants participating in the big sales, gift baskets and giveaways, you’ll be sure to find something to jump start your holiday shopping 6 months early. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be out on the Avenue to welcome all shoppers to the downtown area. Free Trolley Rides from 11-4pm. The Dynasty Dance Club Performers will be putting on a show as well.

For more information visit

As an experienced Realtor, Cheryl believes in “client first” philosophyl She prides her services on accessibility, attention to detail, effective listening and communication skills, awareness of meeting her client’s needs and has the tools to explain the buying process whether you’re a first time home buyer, a move-up buyer, relocating or an investment buyer.

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Lawn Bowling in Sarasota

By | July 12, 2014

Sarasota Lawn Bowling ClubThe Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club has been around since 1927 and is conveniently located near downtown Sarasota at 809 North Tamiami Trail (Hwy 41) right next to the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. They have an international membership with many Canadian, English and Scottish bowlers. Bowlers from Eastern USA combine with local residents for an active winter season in Sarasota. This includes home and away matches with other Florida clubs, invitational tournaments and many local events. Bowlers of all levels of experience are invited to join in the fun and summer is a great time to give it a try.

There are open bowling sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:00 AM. For beginners this exciting outdoor sport is easy to learn and they offer free lessons. The only requirement is to bring flat soled shoes. No partner is needed.

For more information call 941-316-1123

Susan Guice is a Licensed Real Estate Assistant with The Cleary Group in Sarasota.

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Don’t Miss the Final Weekend of “The Price” by the Banyan Theater Company

By | July 10, 2014

Banyan Theater CompanyThis weekend through July 13th brings to close “The Price” written by Arthur Miller. “The Price” is the story of two brothers: one a successful surgeon who walked out on his family demands to pursue personal success, the other a policeman who sacrificed his education and career as a scientist to care for his invalid father. The brothers harbor a lifetime of jealousy and anger toward each other. They reunite after an estrangement of 16 years to dispose of their deceased father’s belongings. The furniture, which is highly desired by a comic 89-year-old antiques dealer, comes to represent the brothers’ past and provide the occasion for them to confront their feelings about each other, their father, the family and their own lives. “The Price” was produced by the Banyan Theater Company in 2003 to great public and press response.

“… one of the most engrossing and entertaining plays that Miller has ever written. It is superbly, even flamboyantly theatrical …” —NY Times

“… a challenging, gripping and moving drama.” —Variety

The show is performed at The Jane B. Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. For ticket information you can visit the box office or call 941-351-2808. For further information on this or other upcoming performances visit their website at

Susan Guice is a Licensed Real Estate Assistant with The Cleary Group in Sarasota.

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The Hob Nob Drive-In in Sarasota

By | July 4, 2014

Hob Nob SignThe Hob Nob is an institution in Sarasota that has been around since the 50′s. Located at the corner of Highway 301 and 17th Street, this open air diner has retained its historical charm. Lots of black and white checkerd tile and chrome seats with red vinyl. It’s a casual, friendly atmosphere and almost always bustling with activity. Recent renovations included roll down shades for rainy days and heaters for our few winter days.

Hob Nob Drive In They have all the old fashioned diner food: burgers, fries, milkshakes, etc. plus alot more. We were in the mood for hot dogs and onion rings with a cold beer after a day at the beach. This was the perfect spot! We sat at the counter and were amazed at how much food was coming out of that little kitchen. The servers are friendly and efficient. There are no frills here but it’s a fun place to stop in for a bite. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Check out the menu at

Susan Guice is a Licensed Real Estate Assistant with The Cleary Group in Sarasota.

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Sarasota History Alive – Webb Clearing Plow

By | July 1, 2014


webb-clearing-plow_medIn January 1917, Henry C. Webb applied for a patent on a specialized plow. The African American resident of Bradenton had devised a machine for cutting the palmetto roots that were a major impediment to road construction in this part of Florida. As described in the March 15, 1917 edition of the Sarasota Times, the plow “is coupled onto the rear of a large tractor engine, and the way that it goes through the roots is good to behold.” The clearing plow incorporated three cutting surfaces. A vertical cutting disk (#13 above) was the first instrument to cut the palmetto. It was followed by a vertical blade that cut through the above-ground plant and curved down and back (#14 and 15) just ahead of the V-shaped horizontal blade (#16) that severed the palmetto roots several inches below the ground’s surface. The roots and stems could then be easily removed and burned. The Times reported that the plow opened a path nearly five feet wide while the tractor moved at its high speed of four miles per hour. The journalist estimated that it would have taken fifty hands with axes to do the same amount of work in that time.

Webb’s invention came at the right time. Travel between communities was difficult at best. Auto and wagon wheels sank into the sand “roads” during the dry season and mired in water-logged sand in rainy periods. As a result of efforts of community leaders who advocated “good roads,” in March 1915 voters approved a $250,000 bond issue for 34 miles of hard surfaced roads. Clearing palmetto roots by hand made road construction a time-consuming process.

The U.S. Patent Office patented Webb’s clearing plow on May 15, 1917. In “One Man’s Family” A.K. Whitaker, grandson of early settler William Whitaker, recalled that his father, who had helped fund the development of the plow, purchased the first successful model and lent it for the clearing of World War I airfields in Arcadia in the spring of 1918. When that work was completed, A.K. Whitaker and a friend, both recent graduates of Manatee County High School, worked with the plow on the construction of the first paved road between Sarasota and Venice. They initially set up camp near Osprey and then moved with the project to the Nokomis area before leaving for college.

Whitaker wrote that the work was “hard, hot, dusty and dirty…. Up at five – breakfast – clean up camp – at work by seven – a sandwich for lunch – work until five – a bath in the nearby creek – supper – by dark into bed under mosquito bars to keep from being eaten alive.” He and his friend Donald Beck worked with the tractor and plow; other crews hauled dirt by mule team, set wood forms for the concrete curbs, brought hot asphalt in Model T dump trucks, and spread the asphalt by hand. Whitaker’s tractor and Webb plow were used for the duration of the road’s construction. Although the road was only nine feet wide and passing cars needed to move one set of wheels off the road to proceed, users were so impressed by the improved roadbed they nicknamed it the “Velvet Highway.”

Whitaker learned later that the Orange State Motor Company had obtained a manufacturing license from Henry Webb and sold the plow until it became obsolete with the production of large caterpillar tractors with heavy duty scraping blades.

Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive!

Joe Cleary is a Broker Associate with The Cleary Group at RE/MAX Alliance Group. He is a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute (GRI), Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and a certified Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR). Call Joe with any real estate questions you may have toll free at 877-814-1233!

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Summer Beach Runs on Siesta Key

By | June 29, 2014

SK summer beach runOn Tuesday evenings throughout the summer the Manasota Track Club sponsors summer beach runs at Siesta Key Beach. The kids’ race starts at 6:30pm followed by the adult race at 7:00pm. This is a great way to get out and enjoy the beach and summer fun. You don’t even have to run…I’ve seen many walkers and moms with kids in strollers join in.

They have different races and themes throughout the summer. For more information visit their website at

Susan Guice is a Licensed Real Estate Assistant with The Cleary Group in Sarasota.
Joe Cleary is a Broker Associate with The Cleary Group at RE/MAX Alliance Group. He is a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute (GRI), Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and a certified Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR). Call Joe with any real estate questions you may have toll free at 877-814-1233!

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Blu Mangrove Grill in Palmetto

By | June 27, 2014

Blu Mangrove Grill

Blu Mangrove GrillBlu Mangrove Grill is located in the marina at Riviera Dunes in Palmetto just north of downtown Bradenton on the Manatee River. They are open for lunch and dinner and offer both indoor and outdoor patio seating. Even on the warmest of days the patio is comfortable with umbrella tables, fans and misters throughout.

Blu Mangrove Grill TableThe menu features smoked infused cuisine featuring hardwood grilled favorites cooked low and slow over hickory and apple wood with a selection of steak, chops, fowl and fresh seafood. In addition there is a wide variety of appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches and even a kid’s menu. They have a full bar and regularly offer drink specials and happy hour. Service was prompt and attentive.

We are always on the lookout for a good waterfront dining spot and found this one to be really enjoyable so if you’re in the area check it out!

For more information visit their website

Susan Guice is a Licensed Real Estate Assistant with The Cleary Group in Sarasota.

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