Point of View: Spring 2012




Karen Wantuck gives her point of view on life changes and her favorite places in Sarasota. Karen is a personality-plus individual, a New Yorker by birth who spent decades in Atlanta, Georgia, an experience which she says mellowed-her accent and personality a bit.  She still has that New York drive and talks a mile-a-minute, but she can do a mean Southern drawl. Karen was something of a celebrity in Atlanta, where she hosted a weekly radio show, as well as penned columns in the Atlanta Journal and Creative Loafing. Karen is now a top producing realtor with Coldwell Banker on St. Armands Circle. Phone her at 941-400-4660 or visit her website at www.cityofsarasota.com


Karen, what brought you to Sarasota?

I change my life every decade or so and it was time for the next move. I thought I’d have a better social life in Sarasota, and that has proved to be the case. Every day feels like a Saturday: everyone is here to have a good time and if I want to go out to dinner, or a movie, I’ve no problem finding company. With my plan, if you live long enough, you get to be a lot of things. So far I’ve been a journalist, a desktop publisher, and a college art professor. Every summer I’d travel the world picking up language proficiency along the way. That skill has been helpful in my real estate business since my office is prominently located between two of Sarasota’s most popular restaurants on St. Armand’s Circle, where visitors to southwest Florida stop to shop.  I get plenty of opportunities to speak different languages, and to date I have sold to buyers from Norway, Brussels, Hungary, Czech Republic, Britain, and of course Sarasota’s #1 buyers…English-speaking buyers, Canadians.


Your vigor and drive is remarkable. Are you ever going to stop working?

Never!  Gail, this time I think I’ve found my niche: Sarasota’s cultural scene with opera, ballet, an abundance of small theaters satisfy my arty side; I get to meet people from around the world which feeds my craving for the exotic, and helping them find their piece of “Paradise”, be it a condo on the Gulf or a single family home, gives me the same kind of satisfaction that teaching produced.

And when clients become good friends, which they have, and invite me to visit their homes, I find I’ve developed a community of my own with whom I continually share my discoveries in Sarasota.

Mural in Burns Court, Sarasota


What do you mean by “discoveries”?

Of course, finding the perfect home for my client is my ultimate goal, but along the way, I’ve got a few secret places that I take them to see: a favorite Banyan tree or an old warehouse with a patina I find intriguing. I love the new mural art on downtown buildings, Burns Court for off-the-beaten track dinner after an arty movie. The once-a-month Friday festivals for music and dining at Lakewood Ranch and the Drum Circle Sunday night on Siesta Key for a fantastic way to end the week. These are experiences a visitor just doesn’t stumble upon, so it is my pleasure to unlock Sarasota for my guests!

As a former artist, I love the colors of Sarasota from the incredible sunsets to the profusion of flowering trees. A new interest of mine is raising orchids, which bloom multiple times a year under my watchful care.

Contributing Writer
Gail Shane is the Realtor Liaison for Neal Communities and John Neal Homes  www.NealCommunities.com.
Gail hosts a weekly radio show,
Gail Shane & Friends every Saturday
at 10am on WSRQ 106.9 FM and
1220 AM. Shows are archived at