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Cover Couple: March 2014

Gayle and John storm, originally from Springfield, Ohio have a home in Port St. Lucie, Fla., but they choose to rent an historic cottage in downtown Pensacola, Fla., as their full time retirement residence.

“We just don’t like the other (Atlantic) coast,” said Gayle, age 65 and a bundle-of-energy. “We don’t like the water.”

The Port St. Lucie home is one that Gayle inherited from her family and the couple now rent it out full time.

The active couple who traveled extensively throughout their 40-year-marriage, spent the first couple of years of their retirement in several locations, including Pensacola Beach but opted for the small and intimate “city living” lifestyle of downtown Pensacola where they could park their car most of the time and walk to restaurants, museums, shops, bars and the waterfront.

“Coming to Pensacola every few months a year made us aware how much we wanted to relocate here permanently,” Gayle said. “Pensacola is a melting pot of culture and people. Here we can walk to the theatre and a gazillion bars.”

Seville Quarter with its piano bar, live Dixieland jazz, brunch and New Orleans-style courtyards and lively atmosphere is a favorite destination.

The couple discovered the Florida panhandle about a decade ago when they assisted a businessman in the design of homes he later “flipped” for profit.

After selling their interior design business in Ohio, they also shed their Midwestern wardrobe of taupe, black and navy blue and heavy winter clothing.

“Now we dress in Florida colors. I love coral,” who launched an E-Bay business buying and selling plus sized clothing to stay busy.

The couple also appreciate the new Cincinnati Reds Double A baseball team, the Blue Wahoos, and the eye-catching waterfront stadium.

“We sent our son a Wahoos hat when they first were available and he wore it to the Cincinnati Reds game and was the only one to have one,” Gayle said. “He enjoyed that.”

The couple have three grown children and five grandchildren, including a recently-born only granddaughter. They host frequent visitors and will visit “back home” from time to time. They still have a love of travel but for now they are content with their historic home and the lifestyle of downtown Pensacola.