Bradenton businesswoman Rosie Dole gained reputation for all things retro

She appeared on CNN for business savvy

Special to the HeraldApril 10, 2013 

MANATEE -- She was a collector of collections with a keen knowledge of vintage clothing and a nostalgic love for the '50s and '60s, the days of her youth.

Local businesswoman and Bradenton native Rosanne Terry Dole, better known to friends and family as Rosie, died Sunday from cancer. The 66-year-old had a passion for collecting the unique and personal, things she knew had personal memories for others like wedding photos and gowns and family portraits.

Mrs. Dole had recently sold her shop Retro Rosie, which she opened in 2003 in the East Manatee Avenue antique district.

"I used to kid her and call it Retro Rosie's Vintage Museum because she had a hard time getting rid of things," her daughter, Jennifer Dole Massie, said.

"It was heartbreaking for her to see some of the things people left behind. She wanted someone who would appreciate it to buy it, she never wanted to throw anything away."

A 1964 Manatee High School graduate, as a teen

Mrs. Dole loved shopping and was often found at Montgomery Roberts downtown.

"She used to be able to buy what she wanted and would say, 'Put it on my mom's account,'" Massie said.

In her early years, Mrs. Dole worked at her father's automotive business and then branched out on her own to pursue her passion for crafts, opening a shop called the Craft Peddler on Manatee Avenue, where she sold country crafts, some she made herself like teddy bears made from old quilts.

"She loved to sew," Massie said.

"I remember her sewing all my prom dresses and my wedding dress."

Later Mrs. Dole branched out into antiques and eventually vintage clothing at a shop she opened on 44th Avenue. She had a store in Sarasota for a few years and also Gulfport but made her way back to Manatee County in 2003 to open Retro Rosie.

In 2008, she joined forces with Nancy Cobb, owner of Cobweb's Unique Finds to cutback on overhead during the recession, an act that garnered her a TV spot on CNN in a report about small businesses surviving the downturn in the economy.

She became a caretaker for her ill parents for several years and realized in 2012 she needed to begin chemotherapy treatments for her cancer.

"It broke her heart that she had to sell it," her daughter said of the shop. "But she knew she had to go through the treatments."

Cobb, her business partner, said Mrs. Dole's biggest accomplishment was her store.

"She loved that store," she said. "Rosie loved being around all her things. If one was good, 20 were better. It was the ultimate dream for her."

A strong-willed woman who spoke her mind, Mrs. Dole's home also was decorated in vintage memorabilia.

"In her dining room, she had an entire wedding shrine with items she had purchased at estate and garage sales," Massie said.

Mrs. Dole is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Dole Massie of Reno, Nevada; son, William Arthur Dole of Palmetto; best friend, Susan Redeker of Bradenton Beach; granddaughter Annice Massie, brothers Steven and James Terry, and sister, Mary Avery.

Floral arrangements are being coordinated by Flowertime Full Service Florist of Palmetto. A time of remembrance will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Skyway Memorial Gardens Chapel in Palmetto.

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