Island Vibe

By Carol Tisch Photography by Matt McCourtney July 1, 2011

“I love that bird,” says Barb Jaeger of the egret. “It says it all about Anna Maria Island: so peaceful and very low-key.” Indeed, her stores—The White Egret (a coastal home accents shop), Egret’s Nest (fashion boutique) and The Egret’s Landing (furniture and interior design)—also grace the island with stunning coastal style.

The consummate retailer, Jaeger owned a series of stores in her hometown of Oconomowoc, Wisc.: a bridal shop, gift shop and a boutique tea room. “When my husband, John, retired from teaching, we sold them and moved to Anna Maria—but I couldn’t retire. I just couldn’t,” she says.

Her retirement job grew from a 500-square-foot store at the tip of the island to today’s Egret empire, with Jaeger as chief tastemaker. “People would tell me they loved what we carried and asked if I would help them decorate their homes,” she says.

The White Egret, 10006 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria (941) 778-3782

Egret’s Nest, 10010 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, (941) 778-8406

The Egret’s Landing, 5602 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, (941) 778-2878


Get Barb’s Look 

Pure Coastal is Jaeger’s style, with beachy colors, white and whitewashed woods, and the perennial charm of wicker. Essential to the look are pottery accessories like this pelican platter ($88) hand painted by artist Dana Whittmann.

What this town needs: “Anna Maria has great restaurants, shopping and natural beauty. But we do need more public restrooms. Everyone knows it needs to be addressed as more people visit the island.”

Can’t live without: “My husband, John. He’s my soul mate, my true support through all of the retail businesses I have done. I can’t live without him and our family.” That includes daughter Sue, her husband, Dave Hallenbeck, and their kids, Taylor and Alex.

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