The history of LTM Party and the Ringling Shopping Center started in 1956 when the Pinto family vacationed in Sarasota from New Jersey.
The excitement around town was the opening of Sarasota's first shopping center on Ringling Boulevard.
Lyn Pinto Ritchie, co-owner of LTM Party, was 6 years old. She went with her mother, Thelma, pictured in the parking lot walking towards Belk Lindsey, to this new and wonderful shopping center and was thrilled to be going to the luncheonette counter at the drugstore for an ice cream sundae after her mother shopped at Belk Lindsey.
Twenty five years later, Lyn would shop this same Belk Lindsey for school clothes for her son Craig.
Ten years after that in 1991, Lyn and her husband Tom would open LTM
Party in the same space formerly occupied by Belk Lindsey.
Photo with this blog shows her mom, Thelma, in the same parking lot at the opening of LTM.
Over the next 20 years, families would come to LTM for the
decorations, invitations, party supplies and balloons to celebrate those
"LifeTime" events that create lasting memories...birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, holidays and of course,
Going to LTM for their Halloween costume was an annual family event eagerly anticipated. Through the years, we watched these kids
grow up and have kids of their own, bringing their young families to LTM to
experience the same fun and sense of wonder they had at LTM.
The final Halloween for LTM in the Ringling Shopping Center will is over. Their new store on Fruitville Road in the Sarasota Crossings is already open.
In mid-November, the Ringling store will close permanently to make way for a new Wal-Mart that will occupy this parcel of land that housed Sarasota's first shopping center. It is time...the center is almost empty and
the structure is showing it's age, much like many of us over 65.
For the LTM family and many families throughout our community, the closing of LTM comes with mixed feelings.
This was more than just a shopping destination, it was where the celebration of lifetime memories began and hopefully the party never ends.