The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 37 - July 10, 2013


Swimming in shells at Raders Reef

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Louise Bolger | sun

From left, Tammy Crawford, Zachary and
Beverly Chouinard offer shells from
around the world.

Walking along a beach is truly one of life’s pleasures. We’re drawn to the water not only for its beauty and serenity, but also because of the creatures that live within it, creatures whose unique outer layers become our treasurers.

As we know, shells found on the beach are the hard protective outer layer created by an animal that lives in the sea. But Holmes Beach has a place where you can find almost as many shells as the beach a few streets away, and it’s been there for a very long time. Raders Reef on Marina Drive is starting its 35th year in business and its owner, Beverly Chouinard, says its current location is only the second one in the life of this iconic shop.

Chouinard and her husband, Jack Rader, became interested in shelling while living in Puerto Rico for several years where Jack Rader was an air traffic controller. After he was transferred to Bradenton, they decided to turn their passion into a business and opened Raders Reef. Jack Rader’s sudden death brought their daughter, Tammy Crawford, into the business to help her mother in running the shop and she has been there ever since.

Beverly Chouinard imports shells from all over the world as well as acquiring local shells mostly from personal collections individuals are giving up. The majority of the imported shells on display in the shop are from India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Mexico and are actually by-products, since one of the food sources in these countries are the animals that produce the shells.

The shop is overflowing with shells with baskets full of sand dollars, star fish in a variety of sizes, star shells, tulip shells, knobby stars and many more. You can also purchase items made with the shells starting with their famous shell Christmas ornaments, all hand made by Beverly and Tammy, and shell animals like turtles, owls, elephants and dogs. They have beautiful flowers made out of shells as well as shell mirrors, picture frames, napkin holders and shell balls. It’s also a great place to pickup up a gift or decorate your beach house with plaques, serving trays, giant sponges and lovely coral.

Crawford collects vintage jewelry and has a substantial display as well as more casual beach jewelry made with shells and shark’s teeth. But don’t be distracted by the T-shirts, beachy cocktail napkins and greeting cards, Raders Reef is not a souvenir shop, It’s really for people who want to collect and decorate with outstanding shells with affordable price tags.

For those who like to create their own works of art, you can purchase mirror boards to make your own shell mirrors as well as balls to create your own Christmas ornaments and wooden boxes to adorn with shells. You can purchase loose shells from Raders Reef’s large collection or gather your own shells right on Anna Maria’s beaches. Raders Reef has become popular with brides who want to design their own table centerpieces and wedding decorations.

Chouinard has seen a lot of changes on Anna Maria in 35 years, but is happy that Holmes Beach has not changed as much as other areas on Anna Maria. She still gets repeat business with the children and grandchildren of customers coming back year after year and is always happy to see new faces. She wants to thank her sons, Terry and Troy Rader, for helping her and Tammy through the years, and a special thanks to her husband, Bernie Chouinard, who helps out a lot behind the scenes.

A trip to Raders Reef is like a great walk on the beach without the sand. Stop by and meet the women who have built one of Holmes Beach’s fixtures, and while you’re there say hello to Zachary, their mascot who just happens to like Johnny Cash and seashells.


5508 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday – Saturday

MasterCard, Visa, Discover


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

ETFs and ETNs – horses of a different color

Investment Corner

Exchange Traded Funds (aka ETFs) and Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs) appear to be very similar when viewed as prospective investment vehicles by the individual investor. Some important differences may never come into play, but should be understood before investing your capital.

First, let’s review the similarities. Both ETFs and ETNs are easily bought or sold on any day the financial markets are open for business. In other words, they offer a high level of liquidity if you need your money for some other purpose.

The second characteristic in common is that most ETFs and ETNs performance as an investment vehicle is intended to mimic a well defined index. An investment index is a compilation of stocks, bonds or other category of investment developed by a formula or a committee and one of the companies that specializes in building indexes. Dow Jones, Standard & Poor’s and the Financial Times are three of the more recognizable names in the index business, but there are many smaller players.

Indexes almost everyone has heard of include the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index. There are indexes for just about any category of investment you can think of though, including currencies, commodities, individual foreign countries and specific industries.

In a perfect world, where everything goes according to plan, ETFs and ETNs could be totally interchangeable. However, we know there is no such thing as perfection in investing, so investors should have a basic understanding of the vehicles in which they invest. Let’s review some of the differences that may impact your choice.

ETF’s are pretty close to the concept of a traditional mutual fund, with the exception of the purchase and sale taking place on an exchange instead of purchasing or redeeming from the sponsoring mutual fund company. The ETF shares you buy provide pro-rata ownership of the underlying securities held by the fund, which are intended to mimic the designated index as closely as possible.

Buying and selling securities in real life is not the same as listing them on paper as components in an index. Spreads between the bid and offer price for stocks and bonds and transaction fees can all combine to create a bit of a drag on the funds ability to exactly mimic the performance of the index. In some cases, for liquidity reasons, the ETF may not own all of the securities in the index, but rather a representative sample to accomplish the goal. This creates the potential for performance differences.

In general ETFs are regarded as highly tax efficient with a goal of having zero capital gains distributions as long as the shares are held continuously. Dividends and interest received from the underlying investments flows through to you as the shareholder.

ETNs are a bit more complex. As a note, ETNs are a debt obligation of the issuing company. Like their ETF cousins, they are designed to deliver the performance of a designated index, but are even better at doing so than the ETF. Why? The ETN doesn’t actually hold any investments. When you buy an ETN, you are making a loan to the issuing company, and it can do whatever it wants with your capital. Its contractual obligation is to pay you the principal plus (or minus) the return achieved by the designated index from the time you purchase through the date of maturity of the note.

If the issuing company were to experience bankruptcy, the debt obligation tied to ETNs could, in theory, be thrown out by a court and investors could be out of luck. So why buy an ETN rather than an ETF? ETNs have the ability to return exactly what the designated index returns because they don’t have the potential performance inhibitors described above for ETFs. Also, ETNs may be even more tax efficient than ETFs because they do not have to distribute interest or dividend payments each year like traditional mutual funds and ETFs. This is because they don’t’ actually hold the investments like an ETF does.

For most investors the issue of ETF vs. ETN comes down to the superior index tracking capability of the ETN vs. the possible default of the ETN’s issuing company. This risk can be minimized by purchasing ETNs issued by firms that are large and credit worthy. As I wrote earlier, in normal times these issues are not generally too important, but times aren’t always normal.

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.

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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