The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 15 - December 31, 2008

BUSINESS

Milena’s salon changing hands

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Lindsay Smith, Milena Jones, Kim Skardoutos and Christine Morin
welcome customers to Milena’s. SUN PHOTO/LOUISE BOLGER

Milena Jones emigrated from an area in Yugoslavia on the Adriatic Sea 32 years ago after researching regions in the United States with great weather where she could also use her hairdressing skills. She ultimately found her way to Bradenton Beach where Milena’s Beauty Salon has been a fixture for 24 years.

On Jan. 1, Milena’s Beauty Salon will enter a new chapter with a younger generation stepping up and Milena Jones gradually phasing out. Kim Skardoutos, Christine Morin and Lindsay Smith are the future of Milena’s Beauty Salon, and they have plans to rocket their business into the new millennium.

Each of the new owners has years of experience and specializes in a variety of salon services. Skardoutos is a nail tech and esthetician with seven years practicing on the Island. She is experienced in pink and white acrylics, manicures and pedicures, makeup and waxing, with a special emphasis on wedding parties. Morin, Skardoutos’ sister, has been a hair stylist for six years, four of them on Anna Maria, specializing in color, highlights, updo’s and cuts. Smith has been a hair stylist for six years, specializing in razor cuts, color and highlights. Like Jones and so many others on Anna Maria, the new owners are all transplants from somewhere else, Skardoutos and Morin from Canada and Smith from Indiana.

The new generation at Milena’s plans on continuing to provide full hair salon services to every generation, including haircuts for children and men. The addition of full salon services including nails, waxing and makeup is designed to conveniently accommodate individuals and wedding parties at the same location. The salon’s hours are flexible based on customer and wedding party needs, and of course, walk-ins are always welcome.

In addition, the new owners will be doing some remodeling as well as stocking an inventory of products by Redken, Big Sexy and OPI. And watch for specials in January to celebrate both the Milena’s Beauty Salon anniversary and new ownership.

And if parting with Jones is more than you can tolerate, don’t worry. She plans on staying on for a while to work with her regular clients as well as helping Skardoutos, Morin and Smith settle in.

Give Milena’s a try. It has salon services that will accommodate everyone’s needs in a relaxing beachy atmosphere – an old standard with a new twist.

Milena’s Beauty Salon

2501 Gulf Drive N. Unit #104
Bradenton Beach
941-778-5989
Tuesday-Saturday,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, Sunday and evenings by appointment
MasterCard & Visa accepted
www.studio104ami.com

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Here’s to better times in 2009

Investment Corner

As 2008 was dawning, the stock market had begun to struggle and the bursting of the housing bubble was not only evident, but was picking up speed. Few, certainly not me, had any inkling of the magnitude of events which would continue to unfold during the rest of the year.

By the end of 2008, the landscape of the investment and banking industries had changed, possibly forever. Investment banks in existence for decades evaporated in bankruptcy or were merged with stronger rivals after realizing the leverage (borrowed money) they used to buy investments related to the collapsing mortgage market were worthless, at least at the moment. Those that survived have converted to "bank holding company" status to be able to tap Federal Reserve funding if necessary.

Over 100 banks nationwide have failed, or been merged into stronger competitors just prior to failure. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was forced to raise the limit on insured deposits from $100,000 to $250,000 to help calm customers of banks who feared an inability to get to their funds. The $100,000 limit had been in place for many years and should have been raised incrementally over the last two decades, so I believe this action was one of the better outcomes of the 2007 – 2008 credit crisis.

The same stock market we were making the case for being undervalued a year ago suddenly was not undervalued when factoring the uncertainty created by the unfolding waves of the economic slowdown created by the deleveraging of corporate and consumer America (and for that matter, the rest of the world as well). The result was the worst stock market decline since at least 1973-74, and by some measures, since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

A couple months ago I wrote an article which appeared here in The Sun which made the case we were not headed for another Depression. The article highlighted the fundamental differences between that terrible time, the mistakes made, and how the opposite steps were being taken today. The economy will likely struggle for several more months and unemployment will rise further, but I stand by the opinion that we are not facing another Depression.

Some significant positives have been occurring, but little attention paid to them because of the overwhelming negative news we seem to face daily. Oil prices have declined over 70% from the peaks of June of this year. Gasoline is down from over $4 a gallon to around $1.70. For the person driving about 12,000 miles a year in a car getting about 20 miles to the gallon, the savings from this price decline will be about $1,400 per year if prices remain steady. This is the equivalent of a tax cut which is much more significant than the previous stimulus programs which sent a few hundred dollars to each qualifying household.

In my last article a couple weeks ago which reviewed how the average common stock now paid a higher dividend yield than the interest yield available on a ten year U.S. Government bond, I highlighted how the 10 year bond was yielding about 2.7 percent. That yield has recently fallen further, and with conventional mortgages being tied to the yield on the 10 year bond, we will not be surprised to see mortgage rates below 5% in the near future.

Rates of this level have not been seen for almost 50 years and will allow homeowners to refinance their existing mortgages and have more manageable payments. Families currently renting may find it within their means to buy a home with recent price declines and the lower mortgages rates increasing home affordability.

Predicting markets and the economy are difficult enough in calm times, but in somewhat unprecedented times like these it is probably foolish. There have been some signs of stabilization in the credit markets which are ground zero to this entire fiasco. There is little doubt the economy will struggle for a while longer because it is just too large of an entity to turn around on a dime. We hope that investors will continue to plan their investment in an appropriate manner for their personal situation, but not let fear drive their decisions at the end of one of the harshest financial corrections on record. We keep coming back to the teachings of some wise individuals who have navigated tough times before. One of our favorites is from Mr. Warren Buffett who says, "I like to be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy". It seems obvious what the predominant sentiment is today.

Let’s hope 2009 is a better year for investors and their families as we start to rebuild the economy, our portfolios, and our faith in the system that has survived and prospered for over 230 years.

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.


AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper