The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 26 - March 31, 2010


Beach concession bidders make presentations

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Loggerheads of Bradenton, makes a presentation
on the Coquina Beach concession.

BRADENTON – Four groups hoping to land a five-year contract to operate concessions at the public beaches made presentations to a committee of Manatee County officials last week.

Committee members are Cindy Turner, director of the parks and recreation department; Melissa Assha, contract and buying manager; Elliott Falcione, of the convention and visitor’s bureau; and Mike Whelan, of the parks and recreation department.

Manatee Public Beach has four bidders – Café on the Beach/P.S. Beach Associates; Blue Wave, a division of Sunrise Sunset Concessions; United Park Services; and Loggerheads LLC at Holmes Beach. For Coquina Beach, there are three – all of the above with the exception of Café on the Beach/P.S. Beach Associates.

At Manatee Beach the approved bidder would be taking over or continuing the operation of the concession stand, but at Coquina Beach, a new concession stand will be built in the same footprint as the current one. The county will provide the shell and the bidder will finish the inside.

Last week, bidders made presentations, which are given in order of their appearance.

United Park Service

This company headquartered in Tampa provides concessions at Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County.

Plans for Manatee Beach include making the back the front with a wall mural, new awnings, white trim and the addition of an ice cream window and a beverage hut, president Alan Kahana said. The group also proposes to make over the dining area with a Key West color combo, foliage, new furniture and historic photos.

Bike and ocean kayak rentals are also planned, and the group has proposed numerous special events. Kahana said people like the existing menu, and they propose a similar one with the addition of tropical fare, drinks and ice cream flavors.

The company partners with Nature’s Academy, which provides environmental, educational and supplemental school programs and plans to provide a program here. The non-profit group is based in Manatee County.

“Our mission is to get local folks outdoors to learn about the environment,” Dana Lawson, of Nature’s Academy, explained, adding that Leffis Key and Coquina Beach would be ideal for this program.

Kahana said he expects 12 percent profitability at this beach and is offering a percentage of profits to the county. He said it could expect $340,000 to $400,000 the first year.

"We are committed to being in the beach concession business,” Kahana said in closing. “It is in line with what we do for a living. Our passion is to come here and spend the next 20 years.”

At Coquina, the company would install a 400-square-foot gift shop. Roaming carts would offer drinks, lotion, snacks, etc. to beachgoers, and rentals would include kayaks, bicycles and scooters.

The menu would feature an all you can eat buffet on Friday night, but breakfast is questionable due to the distance from motels, partner Mark Enoch said. Limited food service would be provided from a temporary trailer during construction.

Kahana proposed a small eco-lodge, with 10 to 12 RV-style units that can be removed if a storm threatens, or five-star tents with a canvas structure, wooden floor and furniture.

Kahana offered 10 percent on the first $1 million and 12 percent on anything above that. He said the company would take Manatee Beach by itself, but would not take Coquina Beach unless it got Manatee.


James Lahman, of Loggerheads of Bradenton, said his experience is in the restaurant business, while partners Robert and Sarah Kline have 10 years experience with concessions. Another partner is Henry O’Malley.

Their vision for Manatee Beach includes painting the building a salmon color, adding foliage, stuccoing over the brick and adding tiki totem poles and lighting, life-sized turtle figures throughout the property and thatched roofs on the concession tables.

They plan to gut the pancake house and make it a tropical food bar, but keep the pancakes on a breakfast buffet inside. There would be themed dinner buffets and signature items added to the menu. Eight to 10 servers would alleviate the bottleneck at the window.

Lahman said they plan to offer rentals of umbrellas, chairs, cabanas and ocean kayaks and Fun and Sun Parasail would provide a shuttle to its location. A second phase of improvements would include a children’s water park by the playground.

The group plans extensive promotions for events and every event will include a T-shirt from their line of Loggerwear, which will be offered in the gift shop.

Lahman said the first year, the county would get $214,000 plus 4 percent of both alcohol sales and the total gross after taxes.

“There’s so much more we feel we can do,” Lahman said. “We’re a family owned company, and we live in Manatee County. We want to operate in our back yard and give new energy and life to this place.”

At Coquina Beach, Lahman said they would use the same color scheme, with cobblestones, thatched roofs, tiki totems and new tables and chairs. Adjacent to the playground they would install a wrecked pirate ship as an additional play area.

Food and service would be the same as at Manatee, except they would not have the breakfast or dinner buffets. Limited food service will be provided from a temporary trailer during construction.

Promotions and events would be the same as Manatee. They proposed a summer camp, which would be called Hatchlings, for youths at both beaches.

They offered a base rent of $14,000 with 6 percent of total gross sales. The said they would prefer both concessions, but would take either.

Café on the Beach

Café on the Beach/P.S. Beach Associates has operated both beach concessions since 1992 and the Beach Shop, a gift shop, since 1989. Tom Vayias and John Menihtas, of Café on the Beach, lease the concessions from Dee Percifield Schaefer and her husband, Gene, of P.S. Beach Associates.

Vayias said they felt that the county should dictate the improvements, but they plan to beautify the appearance of the facility by adding eco-friendly lighting, decorative pavers, planters with tropical foliage and a metal roof; extending the patio; renovating the pancake house; painting and replacing the awnings and installing a new sign.

They plan to continue with rentals of beach chairs and umbrellas, but don’t plan to bring in bicycles, scooters and kayaks due to safety issues. They host a number of special events and would be amenable to adding more.

The Schaefers said they plan to operate the gift shop for another five years and after that, Vayias said the restaurant could be expanded into half the gift shop area if the parking is adequate.

They are the only group offering a monthly rental fee with no profit sharing, which will guarantee the county a certain amount each month whether its the slow or busy season. He pointed out that there would be no interruption of service or closure for renovations.

“We’ve been making a presentation to the county for seven years,” Vayias said. “I’m a hands on operator and take pride in the restaurant. We’re excited about the opportunity to continue to operate the concession.”

They did not offer a bid on Coquina Beach.

Blue Wave/Sunrise
Sunset Concessions

This company is headquartered in Nokomis and has concession contracts at Siesta Key and Lido beaches, Snook Haven in Venice and the Manatee County and Buffalo Creek golf courses.

President Peder Jansson said he would create a Key West look with colors, canopies, plants and trees, new signage and a mural across the rear of the building and enhance the playground.

For the food service, he would offer table service, an alcohol dispensing station and eliminate half the gift shop to install an ice cream parlor. All food service materials would be biodegradable. He would replace kitchen equipment and reduce the size of the kitchen to add more storage and shelving.

The company’s plans include a hair wrap stand and a Beach Ambassadors program using retired people to man information booths. Jansson said at Siesta Beach the county offers a Beach University, which could be explored here.

Rentals would include bicycles, chairs, volleyballs and the like and Jansson would bring in Adirondack chairs for beachgoers. Special events would include volleyball games, sandcastle contests and inviting local high school bands to play.

“I would add character and charisma,” Jansson said. “It has no flavor and looks like a warehouse.”

At Coquina Beach, partner Bob Pepe said they see two visions – a beach for families with sandcastle contests, events and water fitness activities for kids and a community gathering place for weddings, class reunions and parties.

Dave Cook, of Wheel Fun Rentals, proposed an ambitious rental program from surreys to kayaks on the beach side. On the bay side he said he could offer eco tours with kayaks, jon boats, paddleboats and fishing equipment.

Jansson said he plans to use pastel colors on the concession stand and bring in Adirondack chairs for beachgoers. Limited food service would be provided from a temporary trailer during construction.

For rent, Jansson offered 8 percent for the first five years and would negotiate after that. He said he would take either or both concessions.

The committee plans to meet to discuss the presentations and make a recommendation to County Administrator Ed Hunzeker, who will take it to county commissioners.

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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