The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 25 - March 24, 2010


Don't monkey around here

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Stella Rose show some of the whimsical items
available at Three Island Monkeys.

What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys, you have no idea until you visit the Island’s funnest gift shop which also happens to be one of the newest.

Kandi Kerekes grew up with monkeys, not real ones of course but monkey collections starting first with her grandfather and then passed down to her mother. So when she decided it was time to do what she always dreamed of and open her own gift shop she knew exactly what to name it.

Three Island Monkeys opened in August 2009 on Gulf Drive in the city of Anna Maria, with Kerekes vowing to fill her shop with good quality, reasonably priced and most of all, fun stuff. She has succeeded in all three areas with the help of her sense of humor and artistic eye. Although trained to be an architect and interior designer, she gravitated toward a different type of artistic endeavor and for 18 years had a popular business selling hand painted tiles and furniture on Anna Maria.

Many of the items in her shop including wall plaques, painted crab traps and small furniture pieces were created by Kerekes, but she also carries a collection of items from over 30 original artists, many of whom are local. And that’s not all, she has stocked her shop literally from ceiling to floor with a hodgepodge of stuff I guarantee you you’ve never seen before.

To list all of Kerekes’ inventory would take more pages than my publisher would allow, but just to name a few: hand screened T-shirts by Tim Bailey, handmade silk scarves by a local artist, children’s handmade aprons, bamboo Anna Maria Island cutting boards by a local artist, kites, fun cocktail napkins and greeting cards, computer monitor animal screen wipes (you’ve got to see this), Todd and Rosie's sea glass jewelry ,as well as other unique jewelry by local artists. And let’s not forget fish and bird fans a flyswatter clock complete with a rotating fly, a doggie corner with T-shirts, collars and hand painted bowls, and my three favorite items – rolling salt and pepper shakers, flip flop wine coasters and animal slap bracelets (you’re just going to have to go into the shop to find out what this is).

Three Island Monkeys carries some beach supplies and is continually adding inventory based on customer requests. Gift wrapping is available for most items. And if you lucky, Kerekes’ sidekick, Stella Rose, will be happy to show off the trophy she won at the Sun’s Dog Custom Contest in October.

Kerekes and her monkeys have been visiting and having fun on Anna Maria Island since she was 10 years old. In these times, who doesn’t need an infusion of fun? Three Island Monkeys will make you feel like you stepped right into the barrel with the monkeys while it’s rolling downhill. Fun stuff at every twist and turn.

Three Island Monkeys

The Sun Plaza
9801 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria
Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Disciplined risk control

Investment Corner

Last May, my article here in the Sun reviewed the debate between passive and active allocation approaches to managing an investment portfolio. Passive allocation techniques generally involve holding specific amounts of the portfolio in different asset classes like stocks, bonds, cash and other alternatives and then periodically rebalancing the portfolio back to these targets as market fluctuations cause the allocation to be off.

Active or tactical allocation techniques involve using some decision process to choose when to own more or less of a particular asset class to attempt to generate higher return and/or lower risk. The decision process can be driven by many possible options ranging from pure intuition (guesswork) to well defined quantitative methods with strict rules for implementation.

Obviously, after long periods of generally steady market results, passive investing gains in favor because being fully invested all the time provided the full return of each of the assets you choose to invest in. Since there are no perfect timing methods, tactical decisions tend to retard performance during these long periods of rising prices.

After experiences with significant market declines (examples: 1987, 2000 to 2002, and 2007 to 2009), tactical allocation processes are seen as most attractive because there is a chance of avoiding at least a portion of severe declines. Since the emotional pain of losing market value is more significant than the euphoria of earning profits, these concepts become very attractive.

As you can guess by now, the problem is letting emotions and recent history be your guide to which technique to use. You will be driven to be more passive after longer periods of rising markets, which generally precede the most significant corrections and desire to be more after big market declines, which will generally be the wrong decisions.

I am an advocate of being consistent in your approach to investing. Passive techniques work over time as long as you don’t let the periodic corrections chase you out of your plan because you are unlikely to reverse your decision in time to participate in the recovery. Those choosing the active or tactical route should be prepared to experience periods of under-performance, with the likely payoff coming from avoiding large portions of market declines if you have a disciplined approach.

The next logical question is what approach to use to tactically shift your allocation to attempt to accomplish your goal of risk reduction and perhaps enhancement of return. There are many variations to choose from, but I recently read a good book which outlines a very simple process which will help investors understand the benefits of a disciplined tactical approach. "The Ivy Portfolio" is written by Mr. Mebane Faber. It is a review of why large university endowment funds have been so successful, due to their discipline and very long-time horizon (forever). It also identifies that the more nimble individual investor can do quite well by following some simple rules and goes so far as to suggest some ideas on developing your plan.

The book is available through Amazon, Books a Million, etc. but I would suggest ordering online or at least calling ahead before running out to the store, since it is not a book which would definitely be a normal in-stock item. By the way, I have no financial incentive in you purchasing the book.

Good luck and good 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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