The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 42 - July 21, 2010


Beach Bums offers beach fun

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Charlene Graber, Lauren Sato and Diane and Ed Havelka
relax on the front porch of Beach Bums.

There are no shortages of beach bums on Anna Maria Island, and even if you’re not one when you first arrive on the Island chances are you’ll be converted by the time you leave. But before you can be a true beach bum you first have to have the proper beach bum equipment, and Beach Bums rental store in Anna Maria is the place to go right after you kick off your shoes.

Like many great partnerships, neither Lauren Sato nor Diane Havelka were looking for each other, but after working together for a while they discovered their backgrounds and natural abilities fit together perfectly. Lauren Sato was a special education teacher at Manatee High School when she decided to expand her life experiences, and started working as the manager of Beach Bums two years ago with the former owner.

Diane Havelka was also a teacher at Palmetto High School, retiring in 2005. She and her husband are both licensed captains and were relocating yachts, but it just wasn’t enough to keep her busy until she started working part time at Beach Bums next to Lauren Sato. A year later on November 1, 2009, the two women became the new owners of Beach Bums.

The colorful cottage with the big front porch on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria has been a rental shop since 1983 but has never looked so good. The inside is as bright and open as the outside is colorful and stocked with all kinds of fun beach supplies. Hats, t-shirts, kids’ clothes, beach cover-ups, beach toys, prints, artwork and jewelry by local artists even some great little gift ideas.

Sato and Havelka are respectful of the environment and carry recycled rice bags made into a variety of totes and bags, reusable water bottles, and Beach Bums only rents electric and/or environmentally friendly products. They even have solar panels on the roof of the building.

Their rental inventory starts with customizing beach toys based on a child’s age to renting small sailboats and everything in between, including cabanas for the beach. As we all know, the best way to see the Island is from the seat of a bike, and Beach Bums has more styles of colorful bikes than you can imagine. Cruiser bikes, geared bikes, tricycles for both adults and children, tandem bikes, surrey bikes in two different sizes as well as trailers and baby seats, and their newest item, sun shades for the bikes are available.

All their bikes go through maintenance before being rented again and come with locks, baskets and helmets. In addition, Beach Bums will order bikes or bike equipment for purchase, do some minor repairs and offer free air, and it also was voted best Bike Rental for 2010 in the Sun’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Bikes can be rented for as little as an hour or as much as a month.

If you’re looking for transportation requiring a little less physical activity, you can rent street legal electric golf carts which are all licensed by the state. Beach Bums has two to six passenger carts and can be rented for an hour, a day, three days or a week, and don’t forget that decorated carts go hand in hand with your beach wedding.

When you’re ready to get on the water, Beach Bums has it all covered. Single and tandem kayaks can be rented on your own or you can sign up for an eco-kayak tour with Captain Scott McGregor, who is a retired Marine Biology teacher. Brian Dahams, also a retired teacher, offers sailing lessons on one of Beach Bums Lasers, Sunfish, Zumas or Precision 15 sailboats, or you can rent one on your own for as little as an hour.

Sato and Havelka stress that all of their rental equipment is commercial quality and well maintained. It is a sister store of ABC Baby Rentals, so they have access to baby equipment or specialty items they may not stock at their shop. There is free pickup and delivery of most equipment and you can place your order on line so when you arrive on the Island you’re ready to go.

Helping them on a daily basis is Charlene Graeber, another licensed boat captain and boating teacher; Ed Havelka, Diane’s husband; and Greg and Ryan Gidus, brothers and Florida State students. The owners of Beach Bums pride themselves on their professionalism and customer service, there is always someone in the shop during business hours and they answer their phones off hours. Their rental rates and products for sale are very competitively priced, and as Lauren Sato says, they have no “beach flation” built into their prices just because they’re on the Island.

September is “tis the season to be local” month with specials for local residents. So now is the time to go ahead and try something this summer you always said you were going to do. Beach Bums rentals – it has the Island attitude with a professional approach.

Beach Bums

427 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria

Summer Hours:
9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
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Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Investors buffeted by bad news and volatile markets

Investment Corner

Judging from the tones in people’s voices and their investment related decision making, I would dare say we are experiencing a general wave of pessimism close to what we experienced in the spring of 2009. This is interesting because although the economic news certainly isn’t good yet, it is nowhere as bad as what we faced about 15 months ago.

This is the third column in the last two months I’ve devoted to a review of current investor skittishness, with the purpose being to try to help you see the forest without too many trees getting in the way. Some recent articles in the financial press have prompted my continued coverage of this issue. No one knows where short-term, news driven trends will take us in the next week or two, but the longer term lessons appear more reliable and actionable for the individual investor.

Mark Hulbert, of the Hulbert Financial Digest, has monitored the consensus opinion of investment newsletter writers since 1980. Like with individual investor surveys, the majority view (bullish or bearish) of these newsletter writers tends to be wrong at major market turning points. Mr. Hulbert’s observation published on July 6, is that the level of bearish (negative) sentiment among both individual investors and investment newsletter writers is at the highest level since March of 2009 – the maximum point of fear in the financial crisis.

Of course, the point is that this extreme negative view may translate into a positive for the trends in the stock market in the next few months. Mr. Hulbert claims that the predictive value of these extremes in positive and negative opinions extend out to about three months.

Investors also appear to be continuing to zig when they should be zagging, and vice versa. The news of the fiscal woes in the European Union made headlines over the last few months, but just as investors began to wonder about the future of Europe, stocks there have outperformed their counterparts here in the U.S. by a pretty good margin in the last couple months and the Euro has actually gained strength against the U.S. dollar recently.

As if investing in the stock market isn’t hard enough, we now have easy to access vehicles for trying to make money on the volatility of the stock market. One of these is an exchange traded fund (ETF) from iShares called the iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures exchange traded note. This note which trades as easily as a stock under the symbol of VXZ moves up and down as the volatility of the stock market increases or decreases.

On June 30, VXZ took in $128 million of new assets, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Mr. Jason Zweig, representing growth in the fund’s assets of 25 percent in one day! A quick check shows the fund’s price had already risen over 17 percent in the previous seven trading sessions before a whole bunch of investors apparently decided it was time to get in. Of course, as Mr. Zweig accurately points out, periods of high volatility are fleeting and the time to buy an investment tied to volatility is when volatility is low, like it was in March and April.

Mr. Zweig interviewed Dr. Robert Engle, who shared a Nobel Prize award in economics in 2003 for his research on volatility. Engle added that periods of high or low turbulence don’t persist indefinitely. “When you’re in a stormy period there’s a tendency for the storm to end. If you want to capitalize on volatility, wait until markets are calm, not stormy.” he said.

The implication is that buying after a large price move in any asset class multiplies the investor’s risk of being wrong. So as hard as it is to fight the flow of negative news, both financial or otherwise, be careful about making your decision to sell or buy an asset too late.

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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