The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 20 - February 29, 2012


Creativity with class at Relish

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Louise Bolger | Sun
Rhonda Grote shows some of the unique
items shoppers can find at Relish Vintage and
Artisan Boutique.

Resourcefulness is the ability to think creatively, to generate ideas and to identify alternatives. It really doesn't matter if you're wearing a three-piece suit and have salt and pepper hair or your dress was designed in 1960 and you have flaming red hair, resourcefulness is resourcefulness.

Despite critics, Pine Avenue in Anna Maria has become not only one of the most creatively designed streets in Florida, but also one that is mixing repurposed homes among new construction. One of the street's sparkling achievements is the 1935 Sears Cottage that was moved to its present location and is home to Relish Vintage & Artisan Boutique opened by Rhonda Grote in April of last year.

Eight years ago, Grote took the plunge of a lifetime by moving to Bradenton from Ohio to marry the man she fell in love with on vacation. Her move to Florida gave her freedom from her previous life in the corporate world to discover her real love of vintage and up-cycle fashion. For eight years she collected, repurposed and sold her fashions on line, but when the beautifully restored cottage was available to rent, Grote jumped at the opportunity to showcase her collection of traditional pieces in an authentic vintage cottage.

What Grote has displayed in the bright open space is unique not only to Anna Maria, but possibly to the world. Have you ever seen cuff bracelets and necklaces made with discarded license plates or how about typewriter key rings made from old standard typewriters or rings made from vintage coat buttons? Need a winter coat with a fur collar or little mink stole like your mother used to wear? Relish has it. Vintage evening dresses, day dresses, jeans, shoes and handbags will bring back a few memories. But some of the really interesting fashions are the ones that Grote calls eco-friendly fashion that she has saved from obscurity and restored with her own little flair.

In addition to her up-cycled fashions, Grote also carries jewelry like Marleigh & Me, prints by Lori Kee and handmade clutch purses by Layla Copeland, as well as other local artists and artisans. One of my favorite items is the Sassy's pillows made with old jeans in different designs, all with a pocket. There's hundreds of other items – dishes, baby clothes, handmade soy candles, blankets, tablecloths – with inventory changing almost daily.

Grote attends large estate auctions and buys in bulk. Her prices range from $16 to $60 with a few higher prices on special items. Down the road, she hopes to offer more baby and men's clothing, as well as special jellies and jams. You can also pickup a copy of Grote's book "Simple Cheap & Chic Entertaining When You're Tired Busy & On A Budget."

Drop by on Wednesday nights between 5 and 6:30 p.m. for wine and discounts at Relish's Gal Pal Parties, and pay special attention to the bag Grote packs your vintage treasures in. People bring her paper grocery bags and get $1 in store credit for every 10 bags. She stamps each bag with a Relish logo, stamps holes and ties it all up with scrap fabric for a handle – the ultimate in recycling.

Grote is nothing if not full of imagination and vision. She has the ability to imagine what may be nothing more than a of pile of rags to the average person becoming a recycled work of art. Whether you're a local or visitor, take the time to walk up the curved wooden walkway to Relish's arched front door, where one of a kind reclaimed items, lovingly collected by the lady with the big smile and flaming red hair, are waiting.

Relish Vintage & Artisan Boutique

505 Pine Avenue
Anna Maria

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

All major credit cards accepted


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Web Security 2.0

Investment Corner

Security while using the Internet and e-mail was not something I envisioned as a priority when I started my registered investment advisory firm 20 years ago this month. Of course, many Internet-based services and tools we take for granted today weren't available back then.

As a business owner, I'm cognizant of the importance of protecting sensitive client data when transmitting or housing information on their behalf. But perhaps even more important is what individual investors do to protect themselves in this brave new world of accessing information. Some months, ago I wrote in this space about how some basic measures such a sophisticated passwords and anti-virus software, are the first steps in protecting yourself. Let's review a few guidelines for the next level of protection:

• It is best to not open e-mails from someone you don't know and it's definitely a no – no to click links embedded in e-mails you're not familiar with the source of. Even worse is to then provide any personal information, even phone numbers or dates of birth, after clicking on a link in an e-mail, unless you are sure of the authenticity of the sender.

• The safest way to access financial websites, which are protected by passwords, is to store a link to the website in your list of "favorites" when you first establish a relationship with the company, and access the site from there, rather than using links provided in periodic e-mails. This practice avoids the possibility of you logging into a site which may appear genuine, but which might be the creation of a criminal with intent to obtain your login and password information, which could then be recorded and used by them to access your account through the legitimate financial firm website.

So, while most brokerage firms, banks and investment advisors (including Breiter Capital Management) include a link in e-mail communications for sake of convenience, the most secure method is to access the site from outside the e-mail.

• The explosion in use of social media sites has created new risks. Profile pages on Facebook, Linked-In and others, as well as communications on Twitter, potentially put your personal information in the public eye.

For example, if your Facebook profile contains your full date of birth, that could be the piece of information criminals needs to open a new credit card account in your name if they were able to obtain the other necessary pieces of information from other sources.

Most social networking websites allow you to hide your year of birth, displaying only month and day, or to choose not to display it at all.

Obviously, posting addresses, phone numbers and other seemingly benign information may appear harmless, but it may provide the missing piece of information someone with mal-intent may need to carry out their fraud.

It is never a bad idea, if you have any doubt about the legitimacy of an electronic communication requesting information or inviting you to click through to a website, to call the firm from which the communication appears to have been issued from. The customer service agent will be able to confirm the legitimacy of the e-mail or information request. If they cannot, then it is likely an attempt at fraud.

Of course, as I reminded everyone in my last article on this topic, please make sure to keep your computer up to date with the latest security patches and updates, along with updating your anti-virus software regularly. Most systems today can be set for automatic download and installation of updates as they become available. And, changing passwords every few months is always a good idea.

Let's all stay safe on the net.

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. Visit

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