The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 18 - February 13, 2013


Rental and retail in one spot

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Louise Bolger | Sun
Bob Shaffer shows the newly expanded area of
ABC Rentals that includes clothing, gifts and jewelry.

Remember the classic 1942 movie. "The Man Who Came To Dinner," about a dinner guest who never left? If you’ve lived in Florida for a number of years, chances are you’ve had your share of house guests and the stress that comes along with trying to accommodate them. Well now you can chill out, enjoy your houseguests and let someone else have the stress.

ABC Rentals in Holmes Beach has been in the business of providing rental items since November of 2002. Starting in Sarasota, Bob and Lynn Shaffer expanded their business to Holmes Beach and currently deliver all kinds of rental items from Venice to the north end of Anna Maria and east past I-75.

Like their trucks say, “We deliver everything but the baby,” and they’re not kidding. Approximately 75 rental items are offered mostly focusing on baby, toddler and beach needs maintained in their 5,000 square foot warehouse.

Their inventory includes cribs, port-a-cribs, toddler beds, rollaway beds, high chairs, car seats, booster seats, joggers, strollers, wagons, bassinets and air beds. They also stock pretty much anything you might need for the beach – umbrellas, beach carts, chairs, cabanas, toys, life jackets and the very popular beach wheelchairs.

The Shaffers are meticulous when it comes to cleanliness, every rental item goes through a professional laundering and sanitizing when returned.

In addition, Lynn sits on the board of the Juvenile Products Safety Commission, a national organization which promotes child safety products, keeping her on top of current child safety codes. ABC Rentals is also a member of the Child Safety Board a U. S. government agency.

However, ABC Rentals is so much more than just rentals. The Shaffers have expanded both their Sarasota and Holmes Beach stores to include a large range of clothing, gifts and jewelry. Bob Schaf fer says their message is to provide quality goods at a very reasonable price and their markup on inventory is only 25 percent.

The Holmes Beach store carries many exclusive lines of men’s and women’s clothing including Joe Marlin, Elan, Paradise and Maggie B. They also have shoes, sunglasses, reading glasses, jewelry, toys, lotions, scented oils, candles, hats and great gifts. The look of the shop is more boutique than beach shop, even its T-shirts are bling.

Inventory changes weekly, so checkfrequently to find unusual collections.

Stop by ABC Rentals and see how it has grown in 10 years. Manager Wanda Stills will introduce you to some terrific casual fashions and point out fun stuff and custom jewelry.

Don’t let your winter guests stress you out. ABC Rentals will provide the extra bed, high chair and beach supplies you need. And while you’re there, pick up a nice new outfit to really dazzle the crowd, Monty Woolley would be so impressed.


5352 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach


10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday
Deliveries 7 days a week

MasterCard, Visa,

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Investors coming back to equities

Investment Corner

Measuring investor psychology is never an exact science. Monitoring the decision process of humans is as much art as science, and it cannot be exactly quantified like the physical forces of nature (gravity, friction, temperature, etc.). However, some useful generalizations can be made by monitoring the reaction or behavior of us humans over time in particular situations.

In the world of investing, we call the study of these reactions investor sentiment, meaning the attempt to measure the degree of optimism or pessimism of the average individual investor. This measurement is usually best accomplished by monitoring the actions of investors, how they are making decisions for their money, rather than listening to what they say they are doing or intend to do.

As I have referenced many times in this column over the years, when investor sentiment reached extremes, it is a contrary indicator. This can take a while to wrap our minds around, but when the large majority of investors are very optimistic about a particular investment, it is generally a sign that before long they will be proven wrong, and that buying into the trend with this majority is a losing proposition.

Examples we can all remember and relate to would be the .com and technology stock bubble in the year 2000. People were quitting their day jobs to trade stocks, and stories were being made up to justify why a company, which had no sales or net profit and whose stock prices had already tripled, was going to just keep going up. In March of the year 2000 the technology- laden NASDAQ Index rose above the 5,000 level after starting at about the 1,000 level in 1995.

An 80 percent correction ensued and now, almost 13 years later, the NASDAQ is just above the 3000 level, still 40 percent below its all-time high. Interestingly, the S&P Mid-Cap Index was at about 700 in the year 2000. No one wanted to own the average American company back then, but today the Mid-Cap Index trades just under 1,100, over a 50 percent gain in what was a pretty poor 13-year period for equity investors.

The real estate bubble followed, then a rush to commodities, then on to government bonds which now trade near record high prices and record low yields. The point is that when the majority is very fearful or excited it is best to be careful at a minimum, and perhaps consider acting in the opposite manner when these extremes are reached. This brings me to the present day.

The S&P Mid-Cap Index of the average American company has risen from below the 500 level in 2009 to almost 1,100 four years later – more than a doubling, not counting the dividend income an investor would have received. During this four-year period the average investor has been a seller of equity mutual funds almost every month until very recently, all while the market has been doubling. Again, acting the opposite of the majority would have been the best thing to do.

Recently, these average investors started to pull money from their bond and cash holdings to become net purchasers of stock mutual funds. Should we panic and sell our stocks because these investors are coming back to the market? We cannot predict the future, but this is actually an exciting development in my opinion. Note that my previous examples of investors being wrong were when the large majority were convinced they were right and made almost foolish decisions due to their extreme excitement or fear.

We are nowhere near the point of the average investor being overly excited, and in fact, they appear to just be starting the process of changing their thinking about equity investing. I suspect that at some point in the next few years we will see the excitement build to dangerous levels, but at this point the changing trend could be supportive of rising stock prices in the coming months and years as money flows from low-yielding savings instruments to the potentially more rewarding equity asset class. Riding this trend as it unfolds may be very profitable, but be careful as it progresses. When you hear of your acquaintances quitting their jobs to be stock traders, the next major market decline is probably close at hand.

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


AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper