UNIVERSITY PARK -- Ladies looking for a new handbag will soon be in luck.
Vera Bradley is bringing its colorful line of quilted purses, accessories, luggage, stationery and gifts to a new store at the Mall at University Town Center, set to open Oct. 16 at University Parkway and Interstate 75.
Vera Bradley's website lists 88 stores nationwide, including four in Florida, with one at International Plaza in Tampa.
There are several Vera Bradley retailers in the area, including Crowder's Gifts & Gadgets in Lakewood Ranch.
Hidden Gate Gifts, in the Shoppes at University Town Center across the street from the mall, was also a Vera Bradley retailer, but the shop's owners said the company told them to stop selling the products. Hidden Gate Gifts is set to close at the end of the month.
There is a temporary "pop-up" Vera Bradley outlet store at Ellenton Premium Outlets that opened in October and was due to close May 27 but may stick around a little longer.
"We are hoping to be able to keep this store open for another couple of months," said Vera Bradley spokeswoman Melissa Schenkel on Wednesday. "We are trying to work out the details as we speak."
Vera Bradley was founded in 1982 by friends Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller and is based in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The $315 million mall, a joint venture by Manatee's Benderson Development and Taubman Centers of Michigan, will include 115 shops and restaurants.