Vol 7 No. 21 - February 14, 2007

Irene’s celebrates 50 years on the Island


From left to right, top row, Linda Ferguson and Mindy Graham; middle row, Eileen Witzgall, Barbara Piotrowicz and Lynn Verruggio; bottom row, Nanette Almeter and Susan Bourne.
PHOTO COURTESY OF IRENE'S RESORT WEAR

ByLouise Bolger
sun staff writer

Fifty years ago, Anna Maria Island was in the infancy of its development. Homes were being built for retirees lucky enough to know about the wonders of the Island, and visitors were just beginning to discover one of Florida’s little known areas. There was one person, however, who recognized Anna Maria’s potential and seized the moment.

Irene Cassady opened Irene’s Resort Wear in 1957 after relocating from West Virginia with her husband and family. Her vision of offering women everything from underwear to evening dresses in one location filled a gap in the local women’s apparel market. Cassady built a successful business with a loyal clientele, a lot of personal service and a bit of whimsy in her Hawaiian Room. And, 50 years later, her grand niece, Nanette Almeter, continues the tradition that Cassady started.

Almeter started working and learning the business at Irene’s after her parents, Bob and Nina Boyers, took it over upon the death of Irene Cassady. In 1990, the business became hers and with her husband Tim’s renovation ideas and hard work, came an updated look evolving Irene’s into what it is today. And what it is today may look a little different from the shop Irene Cassady built, but the bones of the business remain the same - personal service and attention with the goal of helping women feel and look their best.

Irene’s Resort Wear appeals to women of all age groups, and all sizes. It sells an exclusive line of clothing and fashion items that can be special ordered and shipped out of state. The friendly and helpful staff members assist their customers in keeping up to date with trends while maintaining their own style. At Irene’s you can shop for swimwear, casual and evening clothes, shoes, jewelry, hats and all manner of accessories. Joseph Ribkoff, Tribal and Brighton are just some of the manufacturers carried at Irene’s. And if you’re looking for a bargain, check out the sale loft which is chock full of clothing, accessories and jewelry at discounted prices. Generations of Island residents have shopped at Irene’s. Some still remember Irene Cassady and hope the tradition will go on forever, a possibility since Nanette Almeter’s 12-year-old daughter, Natalie, is already hooked on fashion.

Irene’s participation in local fashion shows sponsored by the Bradenton Opera Guild, South Florida Museum, IMG Academies, as well as other women’s groups and organizations provide a service to the community and venue to showcase their latest fashions. Irene’s will have a week long anniversary celebration with special savings, gift certificate drawings, new fashion items and a few surprises.

Nanette Almeter is a busy lady with two children, she also has a son Grayson, and a farm near Lake Manatee. She gives her wonderful staff credit for much of the success of Irene’s, and can’t think of anything else she would rather be doing. Almeter says "Aunt Irene would be tickled if she knew the store she founded was still owned by a family member." You’ll be tickled too with all that Irene’s Resort Wear has to offer, the friendly shop with an Island history.

Irene’s Resort Wear
5308 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach
(941) 778-1161
Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Major credit cards accepted
Gift wrapping

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