Beach Bums offers beach fun
SUN PHOTO/LOUISE BOLGER
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.
427 Pine Avenue,
9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
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