The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 5 - November 16, 2011


Rent it for baby or the beach

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Bob Shaffer shows some of the items available for
rent at the stores in Holmes Beach and Cortez.

Have you heard from the kids yet with their winter travel schedules? Have they added a new baby or two or do they want to bring little Billy's best friend along on the trip? Or maybe Aunt Mildred is flying down but can't bring her wheel chair or walker. Don't despair. Everything you need to accommodate all your winter visitors can be delivered right to your front door.

Bob and Lynn Shaffer started ABC Rentals in Sarasota in 2002 after "retiring" from Buffalo to Florida. Since then, they have expanded the business to include a store in Manatee County, first in Cortez, and now since July 1, in Holmes Beach. In order to keep up with the demand for rental items, they maintain a 5,000 square foot warehouse, three trucks and five drivers to make deliveries seven days a week.

They offer approximately 75 rental items, mostly focusing on baby, toddler and beach needs. Some of 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 Schaffers are scrupulous when it comes to their inventory and have just purchased all new state of the art cribs and continually retire and replace items. As far as cleanliness, every rental item goes through a professional laundering and sanitizing when returned including their delivery vans designed to protect your grandchild's crib from the elements. They purchase all of their rental items directly from the manufacturer which enables them to be up-to-date on new products and recalled items.

Lynn Schaffer sits on the board of the Juvenile Products Safety Commission, a national organization which promotes child safety products. ABC Rentals is also a member of the Child Safety Board a United States Government agency.

If you happen to stroll into ABC Rental's new shop in Holmes Beach to arrange for a rental, don't forget to take a look around. Not only do they have a very nice display of their rental items, they also have a fun gift shop where nothing is priced more than $50.

They carry exclusively Frisky water shoes and flip flops and Pola Bola sunglasses. There's a nice selection of casual jewelry, including another exclusive, Sadie Green's sea glass jewelry. And just for a little fun ,check out the Life is Crap adult t-shirts with out of wine, out of chocolate and out of beer slogans. You can also stock up on suntan lotion, floats, cover-ups, hats and tote bags.

ABC Rentals can supply pretty much whatever you need to entertain and keep the kids comfortable during their visit. Browse through their website to see the complete list of rental items, as well as child safety updates. Now if they could only figure out a way to get the hot dogs and hamburgers from Publix to the barbeque.

ABC Rentals S & S Plaza

5352 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., off season
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in season
Closed Sunday

Deliveries 7 days a week
MasterCard, Visa, Discover


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Know thine enemy

Investment Corner

It goes without saying that investors are frustrated by several years of below average returns and high volatility. Obviously our goal is higher returns with lower volatility, so in a manner of speaking we have been in investment hell. It may be helpful if we can think of risk in terms of being permanent or temporary.

Permanent risk should be considered the loss of value that can never be regained. It may be total, a 100 percent loss of value, or partial, but it will never be regained in that particular investment. Examples of this are when a firm goes bankrupt and its shareholders lose their entire investment. Bondholders generally fare better, but typically still lose 40 to 80 percent of their value and possibly more.

Temporary risk is what happens when market prices of stocks and bonds fluctuate each day due to investors' emotions and interpretations of news events, but may not have anything to do with the business you own stocks or bonds in. Sometimes these movements in price can be sharp and swift, creating emotional pressure to act to avoid further losses. Unfortunately, history shows that most investors react too late, in effect selling low and buying high – obviously the wrong combination.

The distinction here is important to help avoid investment mistakes. Instances of permanent risk are not necessarily rare, but are also not commonplace, and the investor can be protected by investing in a diversified portfolio of established companies. Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds can be helpful in providing instant and sufficient diversification to reduce the chance for any meaningful permanent risk.

Avoiding temporary risk is tougher to do. Market prices fluctuate each day and they always will. But think about it this way – if Apple is selling more iPhones and iPads, and Exxon Mobil sells more oil each succeeding year and profits are growing over time, does it really matter if their stock prices temporary fluctuate up or down 20 percent due to some short-trm news event? If anything, perhaps we should cheer the down market for the chance to buy more shares at depressed prices, (a certain Mr. Buffett has used this strategy to build wealth over time. (The reference to Apple Computer and Exxon Mobil is not a recommendation of these securities.)

The key distinction between permanent and temporary risk is the fundamental soundness of the business entity that issued the stock or bond that you own. Decreasing profits over several years and lack of a dividend payment or a reduction in dividend would be signs that perhaps not all is well with the firm. If you own the company's stock or bond issue in this case you need to make a decision as to whether a turnaround is likely, or whether to sell and take a limited loss compared to how bad it could get if the firm experiences a bankruptcy.

If sales, profits and dividends are rising, then ignoring the temporary stock price fluctuations is easier to do. But you still need to keep a proper frame of mind to avoid falling prey to the emotional investing cycle. If you can't seem to do that, then some professional help with your investments may be in order.

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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