H.B. Merchants Association launched
HOLMES BEACH – The new Holmes Beach Merchants association is officially up and running, with a mission to assist the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce to increase business and beautify the city.
About 20 people gathered on Monday to build on the momentum of last month's initial meeting, which attracted 50 people.
While the original idea was to focus on downtown merchants, organizer Amy Welch, of Acqua Aveda Salon, said the group's reach now extends to all registered Holmes Beach businesses that have licenses, as indicated by the tag line, "downtown and around."
The group aims to increase the effectiveness of recurring events in the city by "putting a bow on it," Welch said.
For the holidays, group members agreed to unify the look of downtown businesses by decorating with white lights between Nov. 24 and Jan. 12 and using red bows to reinforce the Put a Bow on It theme. They also discussed a 1950s seaside village holiday theme, which could include images such as Santa driving a nautilus shell sleigh pulled by seahorses and a dolphin.
The group voted to expand the city's Founder's Day celebration in April into the entire month, with "Founder's Day" specials at diners and shops. Welch suggested designing a logo or flag for Founder's Day, which honors the city's history
The group also voted to spend $500 for delivery of 150 palm trees donated by Cortezian Gary Taylor, owner of Arctic Palms. The 5- to 7-foot palms of three varieties are worth $7,000, Welch said, and will be delivered on Nov. 14 and donated to the city, which will plant them all over town, including in the city's parks and preserves.
Welch also suggested that residents join the 3/50 Project – select three local merchants and spend $50 a month there – to boost the local economy.
The mantra of the chamber has always been "use local businesses," Chamber President Mary Ann Brockman said. "We need to keep the money here," she said, adding that festivals accepting merchants from elsewhere take money out of the community.
The Holmes Beach Commission voted last month to reject a plan for a flea market in the Chamber parking lot that would have accepted merchants outside Holmes Beach.