The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 8 No. 41 - July 2, 2008


Imagine The Color of Coconut

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/LOUISE BOLGER From left, Peggy Dean and
Sara Gafvert are the owners of The Color of Coconut.

How would describe the color of coconut? If you ask Peggy Dean and Sara Gafvert the owners of one of Holmes Beach’s newest shops, The Color of Coconut, they would say it can be whatever you want it to be. And that’s exactly the point. Their goal is to give their customers the opportunity to create their own unique look.

Dean and Galvert wanted their shop to be an oasis of color smack dab in the middle of Anna Maria Island and stocked with merchandise not found anywhere else. They wanted their customers to be immersed in fabric with color and texture that has been turned into comfortable and stylish fashion. But mostly they just wanted their customers to have the best time shopping.

Dean and Gafvert have a lot in common. They are both originally from Ohio, they both have two grown children, both come from retail and marketing backgrounds and they both studied art. The end product of their combined education and experience shows in their creative inventory and display choices.

The Color of Coconut carries clothing for women and men as well as an interesting assortment of this and that. The clothing lines are very special with an emphasis on batik clothing some of which is designed by Gafvert, featuring casual and dressy tops, long and short sun dresses, skirts, pants and shirts. They also have a vibrant collection of pigment dyed solid tees to mix and match with other pieces or your favorite jeans. They are exclusive Island retailers for Lost River and Iguana women’s lines of clothing and carry men’s Native Outfitter-Global Local exclusively, as well as other pieces from a range of clothing manufacturers with a variety of sizes and prices to fit every figure and pocketbook.

One of the interesting things going on at The Color Of Coconut is the more you poke around, the more you uncover. Most of the clothing pieces are one of a kind, so if you find a great skirt you won’t see a whole row of the same one lined up. In fact, you would be lucky to find the same item in more than one or two sizes. Basically, as my mother use to say, you won’t find yourself coming and going.

After you’re done swooning over the colors and fabrics, take a closer look and you’ll find a collection of used books great for the beach, new beautiful coffee table books, beach baskets, towels, silver and teak jewelry, pillows and even chopsticks. In addition, The Color Of Coconut exclusively carries 85-hour Voluspa candles and Key West Aloe featuring shampoo, sun tan lotions and soaps. And don’t stop there. The display pieces, mirrors and bamboo ladders are also for sale and check out the adorable coconut lamps.

Dean and Gafvert say they are just beginning with plans to add more men’s and children’s clothing and jewelry. P.J. Harlow satin pajamas should be in shortly to compliment their already extensive inventory.

A lot of hard work went into converting the plain vanilla storefront into a show piece, with special thanks to Dean’s husband Ed Tumolo and his staff for beautifully handling the construction in record time.

The end result looks like a Hollywood movie set straight out of South Pacific, so it wasn’t surprising when one of their first customers said walking into the shop is like walking into a painting. The Color of Coconut, a painting that’s alive with color, pattern and whatever you want it to be.

The Color of Coconut

5352 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach
Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Investment Corner

Someone famous (I can’t remember who, and could not find the exact quote) once said that return of principal was more important than return on principal. The obvious implication is that efforts to earn high rates of return, when ultimately unsuccessful, are more hurtful than the safer pursuit of more moderate returns where return of your original investment, plus a modest profit, is preferable to sustaining a big loss which needs to be recovered.

The problem with the instruments we all think of when trying to maximize the return of principal (money market funds, certificates of deposit, etc.) is that the reward, or return on principal is generally very low over time. Investments that offer the higher rates of return (stocks, corporate bonds, real estate) go through cycles where they look great for a few years and then lousy for the next period of time, of course with most investors buying and selling at the wrong time.

I recently had the opportunity to review a report from a large investment firm, which highlighted the concept of diversification in a different way than I have employed in the past. Their thesis was that just placing one-eighth of your portfolio in each of eight common asset classes would produce a low volatility portfolio which provided a higher chance of return of principal, and did not, at least during the time period examined, sacrifice return potential compared to a more aggressive portfolio invested in equities.

Today, investors view commodities as hot, large stocks not. Bonds unexciting, cash a bore, real estate – nevermore? Fond feelings for international stocks fueled by the dollar’s drop, small stocks were on top – what happened?

I just mentioned eight basic asset classes we can all invest in reasonably easily using mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs). The one thing they all have in common is sometimes they are on top and then sure to be a bottom performer sometime in the next few years. It is just the way of the markets.

What if I told you that, if you simply put 12.5 percent (one-eighth) of your investment portfolio in each of the eight asset classes named in my poorly contrived rhyming paragraph, you could have achieved an average annualized return of over 10.2 percent for the 15-year period ending March 31 of this year, besting the S&P 500 Index’s return of 9.5 percent during that period. Most importantly, there were no negative calendar year returns during the time period examined. Gains were tiny – less than 1 percent in both 2002 and 2002, but the stock market was down double digits in each of those years, as you probably remember.

Most importantly, the volatility of this hypothetical portfolio was virtually half of the average stock market volatility for that period. Better return potential for less risk, sounds like a plan we could all use as a basis for building our portfolio and then customizing for our personal situations as necessary.

A big part of the success of the eight asset class hypothetical portfolio is the discipline to rebalance back to the target weighting for each segment after market forces cause the allocation to be out of balance. Obviously, picking the right investment vehicles to gain exposure to the asset classes is important as well.

This review was, for me, a huge reinforcement in the importance of a disciplined portfolio plan and the commitment to stay with the plan, even when tough times like we face now come along.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing.

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