Chris and Linda Seibert imagined how nice it would be to find a way to not have to spend the next 10 or 15 years working at their jobs as engineer and clinical researcher in St. Peterberg. They wanted to live a more laid-back life in a more nautical setting.
"One day, Chris came and showed me an ad in Boat US magazine for a complex in Matlacha on Pine Island that included retail space, a restaurant, marina and three rental units," Linda recalls. "That weekend we came down from St. Pete and fell in love with the place. The wheels started turning in our minds, we crunched some numbers and decided to pursue a dream."
Linda envisioned a classy boutique area along with a gallery where they could display the photography of some friends of theirs, along with custom pottery and jewelry. Chris liked that there was a nice commercial kitchen and plenty of room for outdoor and indoor seating for a cafe and the two long docks where boats could tie up. They both like that there was a nice residence for them along with three rental units that were nicely updated.
Yellowdog Boutique and Gallery co-owner Linda Siebert with Tiki.
"We contacted the owner and began what turned out to be a fairly long negotiating and contract process," Linda said. "We put our home on the market and fortunately were able to sell it. Finally, we began leasing the Matlacha property on Aug. 1 and will become its owners on Oct. 28."
Meantime, the Seiberts freshened up the interior of the boutique and gallery with new paint and redecorated and furnished the rental units, which sleep 4 to 6 and have full kitchens. "I have a flair for interior design and I think the rental units look great. I also design some clothing which I will have in the gallery," Linda explained.
The Yellowdog Boutique and Gallery opened a couple of weeks ago. "Why the name Yellowdog? Say hi to Tiki, our golden retriever," Linda said as he came playfully running into the room.
Although the cafe will not open very soon and one of the rental units needs a little more work, they are excited to be taking the first steps toward being able to give up their day jobs.
"Once we are established, we'll be able to be here full time. Meanwhile, we are open Friday and Saturday from noon until 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 3 p.m.."
Chris and Linda also will offer boat tours, fishing charters and can host special events in the spacious gallery and patio area. The first event will be a free photography workshop on Nov. 12 presented by AmbientLight.com.
"The business community here on Pine Island has been very welcoming to us," Linda said. "We feel very good about making the decision to follow a dream."
Yellowdog Boutique and Gallery is located at 4191 Pine Island Road, just east of the Matlacha bridge.