Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Our tell-all on stories behind the scenes with the team of SRQ | The Magazine.

In Your Mailbox: SRQ’s January Tribute to Business Issue is Here!


Hello 2018! Time for new beginnings, fresh perspectives and even better stories. From stories on business titans to circus themed goods, take a peak, and glance through the business savvy pages of our January issue.


January Features

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Father & Son, Inc.: Taking over dad’s shop holds a level of mythology in the American dream—a belief in the power and promise of honest entrepreneurship as great as the basic vision of a mom-and-pop store. We spoke with the Gulf Coast’s warmest generational business teams who build up brands, whether in real estate, car sales or manufacturing, that transcend simple surnames.


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Franchise Emperor: Jim Abrams doesn’t just start businesses, he creates national brands. The mind behind such home service franchises as Ben Franklin Plumbing and the vision behind Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers, he’s spent decades successfully building familiarity and trust with companies. It’s a little surprising, then, that the Sarasota businessman has never jumped into the world of chain restaurants, an industry closely associated with the franchising model. That’s why people paid serious attention last year when he announced the opening of two new restaurants downtown: PBnT and Element.


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PINC Possibilities: It can be a difficult sell, the notion that spending all day sitting in a dark theater is good for you. But the annual PINC Sarasota conference may just be the exception. It’s more than entertainment; it’s art and culture and science and business and community. In short, it’s humanity—a  little slice of species-wide affirmation in conference form, letting us all know that somehow, somewhere, some of our fellow featherless bipeds have figured it out and made this existence worthwhile in a way all their own.


SRQIST- Local Heart & Soul Stories About the People, Places and Experiences that Define Our Hometown 

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  • Rogan Donelly of Tervis: Tervis’ Rogan Donelly raises a glass to football, spearfishing and Wisnlow rifles.
  • The Violin Shop: Sarasota’s newest violin shop aims to keep the luthier craft alive for the area’s deep roster of musicians.
  • Travel Globally, Act Locally: Tom Koski brings his experience and resources to boost education in Sarasota County.
  • Sarasota Cosmos: DeSOL Gallery’s Modern Sol finds inspiration in galactic imagery, Japanese printmakers and the Sarasota School of Architecture.
  • Coastal Commute: Art Conforti, founder of Bloomerang, rides the waves to work.
  • Cheering #SRQHacks: Students gather to code and chart the future of their education.
  • Pushing Through: Donna Cheek and Rebecca Rusch blaze trails into the Women’s Sports Museum MVP Awards.


CULTURE CITY- Arts + Culture, Performing and Visual Arts, Portfolio, In Studio, Artsheet

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  • Crowded Campus: The galleries of Ringling College gear up for a new year.
  • Glass Houses: Ringling Museum unveils the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion for Sarasota Glass Weekend 2018.
  • Lady du Cirque: Dolly Jacobs keeps circus arts alive.


CARGO- The GoodS, Retail Therapy, Book Brand, NicNacs, Nest


  • Circus Inspiration: From vintage figurines to bedazzled boots, celebrate the circus with this collection of Big Top-inspired merchandise.
  • Dance for the Ages: Hidden away in the closet of a historic Bradenton home, two lonely red shoes with over a century of history contained a mysterious note: “For Ma Wagner.”
  • Book It: Learn more about one of the world’s most intense military trials and how to catch a murderer in this month’s selections.


FORAGE- At the Table, Crumbs, Restaurants, 5 Ingredients, Pantry, Foodie Life

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  • Classic Cuisine for Futurist Foodies: Element’s interior feels like a reception hall for a space yacht, but with a menu that hearkens back to food that feels good.
  • A Talent for Tacos: Malin Parker spices up the Gulf Gate foodie scene with a from-scratch taqueria full of savory meats and house-made salsas at Screaming Goat Taqueria.
  • Blue Marlin: Four reasons we love this fresh seafood hideaway on Bradenton Beach’s Bridge Street.


RECONNOITER- Collaborative Dialogue, Dispatches, Case Study, Agenda, Rattlebag

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  • Chamber Chiefs: Sarasota Chamber President Kevin Cooper and Manatee Chamber President Jacki Dezelski on adapting to the market, guarding against future recessions and the ongoing issue of affordable housing.

Start your year right and grab a copy of the January issue today!

-The SRQ team

Click here to access the pages of the January SRQ digital edition.


In Your Mailbox: SRQ’s December Spirit of Giving Issue is Here!


Baby it’s cold outside (at least we wish it were) — SRQ‘s December issue is filled with philanthropic stories big and small that will fill warm heart reminding us of the reason for the season.

December Features


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The Gift of Wisdom: The future looks bright today for Daniel Lopez, a Lemon Bay High graduate with his eye on the sky. Studying at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he dreams of working at Tesla building a new generation of electrically powered aircra . But the future hasn’t always been sky blue clear.


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Do Good: Sarasota may be known as a destination for retirees, but local residents nonetheless work tirelessly to help underserved populations gain traction on new paths out of trying situations. Whether nancing higher education for the impoverished or o ering emotional support to those ba ling disease, area nonpro t organizations hope to empower bene ciaries with the tools to scale their personal mountains. From large scale organizations like Community Foundation of Sarasota County to one-man operations like Music Heals Us, people in need will sleep be er knowing a helping hand is ready to assist.


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Where the Wild Things Get Help: Low brush edged by wide berths of trees make the park a perfect home for a big bird of prey, especially on a windy autumn day like this. But the red-tailed hawk Ed and son Devon Straight of Wildlife Inc. Education and Rehabilitation are preparing to release has yet to show any inkling of gratitude for his new home or his saviors. His talons clutching Devon’s gloved wrist, the hawk is too busy casting spiteful glares to even notice where he is. Ideally, by the time they are ready for release, all the Straight’s rescue animals should be as ready as that hawk to give humans a wide berth. Humans, a er all, present a far greater threat to wildlife than hurricanes.

SRQIST- Local Heart & Soul Stories About the People, Places and Experiences that Define Our Hometown 

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CULTURE CITY- Arts + Culture, Performing and Visual Arts, Portfolio, In Studio, Artsheet

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  • International Explorer: Getting the global perspective at Florida Studio Theatre.
  • Plastic Beach: The artists of Washed Ashore transform pollution into art at the latest exhibition from Mote Marine.


CARGO- The GoodS, Retail Therapy, Book Brand, NicNacs, Nest

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  • The Goods: Bold hues for your holiday muse.
  • Zen and the Art of Cashmere: Classically trained and hailing from Hungary, fashion designer Andrea Mihalyffy brings an element of chic to timeless cashmere.


FORAGE- At the Table, Crumbs, Restaurants, 5 Ingredients, Pantry, Foodie Life

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RECONNOITER- Collaborative Dialogue, Dispatches, Case Study, Agenda, Rattlebag

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  • Power Struggle: After Irma, FPL faces scrutiny about keeping the refrigerator going.

Grab your copy of the December issue today and embrace the spirit of giving this holiday season!

-The SRQ team

Click here to access the pages of the November SRQ digital edition.

IN YOUR MAILBOX: Best Of SRQ Awards Are Live!


Hometown heroes are the focus of the April issue, where each year we open up the floor to readers and business owners alike to make their voices heard on what local establishments constitute the best of the best. Hang on tight and see where readers took us this year.

Cover Feature: Best of SRQ Local Reader’s Competition

To bring you the highly anticipated results of the 9th annual Best of SRQ Local competition, we donned some rose-colored glasses and peace-sign necklaces to celebrate the big winners and finalists in each of the 59 categories we opened up this year. From potholes to trivia nights, food festivals to fish markets, it ultimately comes down to our last write-in question: Why do you love Sarasota?

Interview With: Dr. Larry Thompson

As the college today undergoes the greatest capital investment and physical expansion of campus since the school opened in 1931, Dr. Larry Thompson  proves to be the driving force behind the explosion of growth. As he puts it: “We’re on our way to being the preeminent art school in the country, and we’re on the fast track to get there.” Take a look at the academic pushing the boundaries of traditional higher education.


Out and About 

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At the Table



Hunting and Gathering

  • Embrace the open road with road trip essentials that will keep your eyes on the prize.
  • Bathe in color with sprightly prints from Charlotte Osterman.
  • The future’s looking up inside a Venice Island mid-century hideaway.


Medical marijuana passed in November, but moratoria delay dispensaries.


Karin Murphy of the Urban Design Studio evaluates water taxis for Sarasota.

Body and Wellness

Learn about what the future holds for research into Alzheimer’s disease.

Parting Shot

Passing of the books into Ringling College’s new library.

SRQ Hosts SPRINGboard Marketing Camp For NewGate Students, February 21



NewGate Montessori IB visits the SRQ Studio for SPRINGBOARD Marketing Camp.


The SRQ Studio was full of vibrant and energetic elementary school students eager to learn at our interactive SPRINGboard Marketing Camp last week hosting first, second and third graders attending NewGate School. The workshop was in preparation for NewGate Montessori IB’s Entrepreneur Fair in which students create, develop and sell a product of their choice.

“We started the Entrepreneur Fair because students really did not have a lot of experience with money,” says NewGate elementary teacher Cheryl Allen. “They have the choice to either work in groups or on their own. They still get that teamwork element though because they are so excited to buy each other’s products. We have a $15 per child start-up budget so that we can have an even playing field for each student and they have to figure out how to make that money work. They pay the class back 20% of their profits for rent and advertising and then we go on a field trip with it.”


SRQ Photographer, Wyatt Kostygan works with students on photographing their inventions. 


The morning started with a workshop touching on the ins and outs of advertising. From there, teams filled out their marketing, photo and design worksheets unique to each of their avant-garde inventions. Students then got to sit in the director’s chair and take charge of a photo shoot for their product, choosing the angle and background color for their promotional image. From there, students worked with our design team to build an full-page ad for their product. The SRQ staff went through the step-by-step production process, touching on what to consider when building an ad such as font, product placement and effective taglines. By the end of the workshop, these young entrepreneurs were able to see their vision come to life in their very own advertisement.

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“Spending the morning with NewGate’s young entrepreneurs was a thrill for our team,” says SRQ MEDIA CEO and President Lisl Liang. “When we launched SPRINGBoard to power out-of-the-box community engagement, we had no idea that two years later, we’d be doing a consumer deep dive with the founder of the GooBalloon. Doing a mind meld with six, seven and eight-year-olds about white space, sans serif, zippy headlines and branding resulted in the creation of “The Brookie: Brownie Meets Cookie” and my favorite, “Flying Pretzels: The Most Flying-est Snack’. Our crew loved every minute!”


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“We’re planning to formalize the SPRINGboard Marketing Camp half-day program to offer other elementary and middle schools the opportunity to engage their students in the art and science of advertising production, design and creative thinking,” says Liang.

We would like to thank NewGate Montessori IB students and faculty for allowing us t0 share our craft with you.

If you are interested in scheduling a SPRINGboard Marketing Camp with SRQ MEDIA please email 

SRQ Studios Transforms Into BLOTCHED Film Set, Dec 12


SRQ Studios channeled our inner Hollywood by transforming our office into a movie set for the upcoming indie film, Blotched on December 12. Crew members unloaded equipment, set the scene and patiently worked on obtaining the perfect shot while we got an inside look at this drama/sci-fi slated to be released late next year.

Blotched follows Ann, a struggling journalist who does her best to get by despite being inflicted with a facial disfigurement that seems to dictate every aspect of her life. After losing her mother and receiving shocking news regarding her health, she must reconnect with her sister Julie, a beautiful actress and celebrity that does her best to make sure the public is unaware of her relation to Ann, as well her estranged father, the only person with the correct biological makeup that could potentially save Ann’s life.

Amidst the challenges Ann must face, is a mysterious 20 story high reflective sphere that appeared out of nowhere 10 years ago downtown, creating a perpetual cloud of smog around all who dwell in the city, a sphere that vanishes away those that dare touch it. Blotched is an affirming and innovative story about self-reflection,  learning to find companionship in the most unlikely of places and understanding what true beauty really is.

“The movie Blotched is really about embracing the imperfection in all of us,” says Blotched Director, Writer and Producer Robert Burdsall. “I came up with the idea working as a 1st Assistant Director in Hollywood and seeing actresses take all of this time with their hair and makeup. I wanted to make a movie about a character that is the complete opposite of that.”

After he completes Blotched, Burdsall hopes to send the film to domestic and international festivals, distribution companies as well as host screenings locally and in Los Angeles, CA.

For more information on Blotched and Orensis Films, click here.

Best of luck to you!
SRQ Media Team

SRQ Staff Writer, Phil Lederer Speaks to Ringling College of Art and Design Students, Nov 9



SRQ Staff Writer speaks to Ringling College of Art and Design Students 


Last week, SRQ Magazine’s Staff Writer, Phil Lederer spoke to a group of Ringling College of Art and Design students about the components that create a well-written article. The group consisted of three illustration majors and one game art major who will be conducting interviews and writing articles about trending news and topics on the Ringling College campus.

“There’s so much about journalism that can’t be taught except by doing,” says Lederer. “The research, the interview, the writing and skills relating to all of these can be taught to some extent, but the actual implementation relies more on repeatedly doing.”

Lederer equipped the students with tips on how to go about researching a subject before an interview, how to conduct an interview and then how to construct a meaningful article that not only informs but is enjoyable to read. Ringling College often supplements their classroom activities with visiting professionals and guest speakers and we are thrilled that Phil could represent SRQ MEDIA.

“Speaking to students provides a further opportunity to impress upon them the importance of journalism and give them the confidence to pursue it,” says Lederer. “It’s their right as journalists to ask the hard questions and tell the hard truth honestly. Confidence is key in that regard and although journalists should be prepared to stand alone if necessary, a foundation of community support and professional encouragement goes a long way.”

IN YOUR MAILBOX: The Arts and Culture Issue is Here!


It’s that time again—Sarasota’s cultural season heads into high gear and (lucky for you) we are here to guide the way. Our October issue highlights all things arts and culture going on through 2017, from sculpture to film, dance to theater and everything in between. Contributor Michael Adno returns to our pages for What Would Chick Do? a deep dive profile of the Ringling’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Matthew McLendon, an influencer changing the way modern art is consumed, down to the museum as a medium itself. Staff writer Phil Lederer pours over studio glass as a fine art form in Working Glass Heroes, investigating the major players pushing Sarasota toward becoming a Mecca for the form, along with the not-so-shiny voices on the edge.

Over at the Asolo, Lederer brings the fifth (and final) season of the American Character Project to the forefront in Staging a Nation, where seminal shows like Guys and Dolls and The Great Society explore what it means to be an American. Editorial Associate Elizabeth Steiner gets a jump on the next generation of stars coming from the educational programs at the Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Ballet in Next on Stage. In the vein of visual arts, we talk to Orensis Films about the burgeoning local indie film scene in Indie Coast and showcase the once forgotten photos of the Sarasota circus heyday Elizabeth Siegfried found tucked away in an attic in Cirque d’histoire.

Here at SRQ, we like to think of food as an art form as well—thus, Editor Aviel Kanter brings you four edible stories ripe for gobbling up. Start with Peruvian Steak and Eggs from Chef Darwin in Latin Flare; move on to the deep-sea fare at Veronica Fish and Oyster with Café Society; then sip, slurp or twirl your way through the traditional ramen bowls found at Goichi’s Sushi Cafe in A Broth Above; finally, get a foodie education from the experts at Pomona Bistro, State Street and Taste of Asia in Professional Grade. And we couldn’t forget about contributor Nicole Carbon’s look at what makes Chef Steve Phelps of Indigenous tick in Backyard Dining.

Feeling full yet? There’s even more to love in the October issue, from a talk with virtual reality junkie Jeff Hazelton (Easy Rider) to a look at inside the studio of Gum Surfboard’s Brett Telinger (Making Waves), and even a cameo by Chicken the dog in this month’s roundup of Goods (Citizen Canine).

While we can’t wait for you to soak in everything we present in the October issue, we’d rather you get out there and experience for yourself the fire within the Creative Coast!

The SRQ team