Cannons Marina owner David Miller, left, stands
beside one of the Grady-White boats he has for sale.
Cannons is celebrating 50 years in business this
SUN PHOTOS/CINDY LANE
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
LONGBOAT KEY When Detroit businessman Paul Miller
moved to Longboat Key in 1955, he didnt just buy
Cannons Marina from Ernie Cannon, he purchased a legacy
for his son, David.
Cannons Marina and Cannons-by-the-Sea rental cottages,
on opposite sides of Gulf of Mexico Drive, have been David
Millers life since he was a kid growing up on Longboat
Miller remembers when Gulf of Mexico Drive was lined by
Australian pines on both sides, before Arvida developed
it into a chain of lushly-landscaped condominiums. He
remembers the key populated with rabbits, raccoons and
rattlesnakes, not snowbirds. And he recalls when the bridge
was built from Longboat Key to Anna Maria Island because
it meant he could transfer from Sarasota to the third
grade at Anna Maria Elementary School.
Miller already knew arithmetic before he started school,
thanks to his dad, who made him count out shrimp for bait
By 1972, he was ready to take over at the helm, and has
been selling, renting and repairing power boats and engines
ever since. The 20-employee firm carries Grady-White and
Scout boats and Yamaha engines; in the 1980s, Cannons
dropped its exclusive contract with Evinrude when Yamaha
engines proved more reliable.
This month, Cannons became the first Manatee County marina
to be designated as both a Clean Boatyard and a Clean
Marina by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The business also has been nominated for the Longboat
Key Chamber of Commerce 2005 Small Business Award, to
be presented this week. Cannons also holds six consecutive
years of Admirals Circle awards from Grady-White
for customer service and sales, and Best in Class awards
In 1991, Cannons helped spearhead the Sister Keys Conservancy
to acquire and preserve Longboat Keys Sister Keys.
The business also helps sponsor St. Stephens School,
the Cortez Historical Society, the Florida Institute for
Saltwater Heritage (FISH) and the Sarasota Power Squadron,