The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 3 - October 14, 2009


A taste of Paradise

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Paradise Cafe with her daughter, Cindy Thompson.

It’s really hard to define paradise when you live there. The existence of a positive and harmonious environment that is timeless are words frequently associated with paradise. And although this definition may seem a little over indulgent for a modest Island café, they are nevertheless spot on.

Jackie Estes and her daughter, Cindy Thompson, are the perfect examples of what small business entrepreneurs can do in this country. Paradise Café & Catering, the business they established together is starting its 15th year this week, and although Thompson has moved on to other businesses, Estes is still continually tweaking and enhancing her vision of what an island café should be.

Starting out with breakfast and lunch, Estes’ unending energy and innovation has turned Paradise Café into one of the most popular evening dining restaurants on the Island for the past 10 years.

Her breakfast and lunch menu includes fresh baked bagels and muffins, build your own omelets and the Eggel breakfast sandwich.

If you love pancakes you have a lot to choose from, banana, chocolate chip, cranberry walnut, blueberry or buttermilk. Soup, salads a variety of sandwiches and bagels-n-lox are just some of the other menu items.

But it’s in October, when Estes starts to serve dinner three nights a week, that gets mouths watering. Her signature dishes are legendary on Anna Maria starting with colossal tempura prawns, so much in demand they became a permanent menu item.

Prime rib, herb crusted salmon and lemon chicken are also on the menu and weekly there are two specials, one a fish entrée and one either a pasta or lamb entree. Every dinner comes with potato or rice and Paradise Café’s famous roasted acorn squash with sweet maple butter. Wine and beer are complimentary.

The food is only one of the ingredients that makes Paradise Café so special. At night the café is converted from casual down home dining into an elegant wonderland of sparkling lights, candles, linen, crystal and soft jazz, including a couple of alfresco dining tables. Starting in November reservations are an absolute must.

On Oct. 15, Paradise Café will be celebrating its anniversary with balloons, party decorations and free Eggels till 10 a.m., and around Thanksgiving Estes puts up her legendary Christmas tree.

For the last 10 years, in conjunction with the Anna Maria Elementary School, the 10-foot Christmas tree at Paradise Café is decorated with tickets representing boys and girls who are in need of a little Christmas cheer. Diners pick a ticket and then return an appropriately wrapped gift to Paradise Café to be distributed to students at school before Christmas.

It’s an Island tradition, which has grown right along with Paradise Café’s popularity down through the years.

Paradise Café also offers a catering service and has been written up in Good Housekeeping, the Bradenton Herald and has consistently been a Sun Reader’s Choice winner through the years.

Estes credits her staff of 5, who have all been with her for 10 years, for the restaurant’s success, and thanks them for treating her business like it was their own.

When people ask Estes when she plans on retiring, her response is never and why should she. When you live and work in paradise you’re timeless, just like Paradise Café.

Paradise Café & Catering

3210 East Bay Drive
Holmes Beach

Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m
Sunday, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Dinner served starting in October
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Visa, MasterCard & Discover credit and debit cards accepted

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Feel better? Time to be cautious

Investment Corner
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

I am an optimist by nature. Some of my clients even call me Pollyanna (just kidding). As I write this article, barring a correction of about 5 percent or more before the end of September, it appears the stock market will have moved upward for seven months in a row.

Multi-month increases are not necessarily rare events. In fact, there was an eight month rise which culminated back in early 2007. However, any time we start to feel like everything is wonderful again, anyone with a memory knows that it is time to be at least a little more cautious. With recent investor sentiment polls showing increasing optimism, there could be the risk that once again, Mr. Market will trick those who get in too late.

I’m not negative on the stock or corporate bond markets by any stretch of the imagination and I believe prices will move higher over the next year or more. My fear is that many investors, who bailed out of stocks last fall or winter as we gazed into the abyss, are now just entertaining the thought of getting back in after hearing talk that the recession is likely over and the S&P 500 Index is up almost 60 percent from the low point set on March 9.

After market moves like we have seen recently, which are relatively rare, it is common to have a correction in prices which could range from 5 to 20 percent. Imagine the impact of having lost money during the decline last year, moved out during the panic phase, watched a 60 percent recovery from the sidelines, get back in now and then sustain another correction hit on your asset values. How frustrating would that be?

Unfortunately, despite the talk among investors, this is a common experience and decision that millions of investors with a total of about 7 to 8 trillion dollars in savings accounts and money market funds earning a pittance of interest face today.

What should you do at this time if you have substantial cash investments that are appropriate to be designated as long-term portfolio holding in stocks and fixed income vehicles and which you ultimately want to get invested back into your plan? This is a difficult question considering the potential damage to the investor’s willingness to ever invest again if it doesn’t go well this time around.

Short-term market timing is difficult, even for experienced investors, so market timing for a period of a few weeks is not a good solution for most. There is the possibility that any correction in prices will be limited or that the market may consolidate in a sideways pattern for a while before moving higher. No one knows these answers without the benefit of hindsight, so let’s not waste time trying to figure it out. A plan for phasing back into the market, perhaps over the next six months or so is the best option at this time.

If you have substantial cash as a percentage of your investable assets, divide the amount you ultimately want to put back into stocks and bonds into six segments or buckets of equal size. Pick a day each month to put one bucket into the investment vehicles of your choice (stocks, stock mutual funds, bonds or bond mutual funds) for the next six months. This method of averaging into the market will avoid the risk of picking one day to invest all your cash and lessen the risk of picking the day right before a correction of some consequence.

Investors sitting 100 percent in cash at this time may want to accelerate the plan slightly to get up to 20 to 30 percent invested in case the current rally ends up continuing for another couple months before the next correction. If the market does continue its streak of winning months, it means we are just that much closer to a correction and it is likely to be larger. In this event, consider postponing additional purchases until a negative month or two takes place.

Of course, all investment of money into securities, which carry risk to principal due to market fluctuation, should be done within the guidelines of a common sense plan which diversifies your holdings appropriately for your personal situation and provides adequate access to risk-free type reserve funds for emergencies. Consult an investment professional if you need help developing such a plan.

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.

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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