The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 5 - November 14, 2012


Coastal Marine sews up boat canvas business

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Pat copeland | sun
Above, from left, Rica Ostrander and Cindy
Tutterow with their sign on Pine Avenue.

There isn’t a boater in the world who doesn’t have a love hate relationship with his/her vessel. Most are happiest the day they buy it and equally happy the day they sell it. If you’re still at the happy stage and want to protect as well as dress up your vessel, Coastal Marine can make it all happen in a really convenient way.

Linda and Gene Ames established Coastal Marine Canvas & Upholstery in 2002 in a small workshop with the two of them doing everything from measuring to sewing and installing. Their business has grown so much during the years that in July, they moved to a 1,240 square foot location at the Cortez Cove Marina within the Cortez Fishing Village. The big open space is a sea of tables and sewing machines for laying out fabric and canvas with one of the best water views around.

Linda Ames says that one of the exciting things about being within a working full service marina is the convenience it affords to her customers who may require other boat services. Coastal Marine has both a wet and dry slip available for boat owners who want to bring their boat to Coastal’s location while the work is being done. This keeps boat owners' property clean and mess free while their boat is being worked on, especially important to boat owners whose boat slips are within condominium communities. In addition, Coastal covers a wide territory from St. Petersburg to Sarasota.

Coastal Marine can cover anything on your boat, inside or out. Canvas enclosures, dodgers, biminis, console covers, electronics covers, mooring covers, seat covers, new outside and inside cushions, curtains, blinds and even custom fit quilted bed spreads. It also can recover patio and interior furniture and sew drapes for your home and boat. Sunbrella fabric with a wide range of beautiful patterns and colors is primarily used along with Dry Fast Foam and sun proof PTFE thread for cushions. All unused Sunbrella and foam scraps are recycled.

They recommend Strataglass for boat enclosures, which is a rollable clear vinyl product for smaller boats and a semi-rigid polycarbonate for larger boats, that does not have the ability to roll. Both products are UV and scratch resistant and won’t yellow.

Coastal also has been busy installing PlasTeak and PlasDeck for new boat builders and boat owners. PlasTeak and PlasDeck is a vinyl product which closely resembles real teak and wood decking, but is in Linda's words “bulletproof.”

Both Ames come to the marine canvas and upholstery industry from backgrounds uniquely geared to their business. Linda was a fashion designer in California, where she learned the pattern making skills she has been able to utilize for the challenges of marine canvas. Gene Ames has a 100-ton captain’s license and was a commercial fisherman and boat builder after a career in the US Merchant Marine.

With their recent expansion they have added three additional staff members. Judi Wood, Linda Ames mother, who herself had a canvas company and worked for Donzi Boats, Rita Gunter who has also been in the canvas business for years, and Kevin Farrell, the Ames’ son-in-law who is the decking expert. Coastal Marian is truly a family affair, most days you’ll find grandson Aiden running around helping out even at 2 years old. The extra space, which Linda Ames says they are already outgrowing, has given Coastal Marine the ability to do a lot of unique creative work like the band enclosure at the Swordfish Grill in Cortez featuring a window in the shape of a swordfish.

If boating is your guilty pleasure, show your floating friend how much you love her with new canvas, cushions or decking. Coastal Marine Canvas & Upholstery at The Cortez Cove Marina in Cortez accessible by land or sea will make you fall in love with her all over again.


4522 121 St. W.
At the Cortez Cove Marina

9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday
Sunday by appointment

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Investing as the fiscal cliff approaches

Investment Corner

I’m sure by now everyone has heard the term "fiscal cliff” and the sounds of it are enough to strike fear into the hearts of some investors and business people. Let’s try to make some simple sense of the cliff and help you decide if action may be warranted in your investment portfolio.

The fiscal cliff refers to a combination of federal spending cuts and tax increases which will take place on Jan. 1, 2013, if no action is taken by Congress between now and then. The largest impact is the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which were enacted in 2003 and remain the same today after being extended for two years in 2010.

In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act to deal with the debt ceiling crisis at the time and this act established a bipartisan commission to agree and recommend $1.2 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years.

They could not agree, so forced spending cuts defined in the act go into effect in the new year and coincide with the expiration of several tax laws. The result – higher taxes for many and lower government spending.

I think most would agree that lower spending is a good idea, although not to many of us want higher taxes. The bottom line is that our fiscal situation requires action of some combination of lower spending and higher revenue.

The fear at the moment is that the dramatic reduction in spending may be a retardant to economic growth in an environment where we are growing very slowly, possibly causing a new recession.

Interestingly, the financial markets have not been too panicked so far. The S&P 500 Index fell a bit in October after rising the previous four months in a row, but remains within 2 to 3 percent of recent highs.

The bond markets remain strong, particularly high yield corporate bonds, which would logically be the bonds that would suffer the most if a recession were to occur. I’ve mentioned the Index of Leading Economic Indicators before, and although not pointing to strong growth, this historically reliable indicator is not forecasting a recession, at least not yet.

Still, there is a possibility that the next few months will have a lot of strong political rhetoric causing the financial markets to be volatile until some resolution is reached, allowing individuals and businesses to make plans knowing what the ground-rules are going to be.

So, what should investors do? Well it always makes sense to review your investment plan to make sure you are in an appropriate balance of assets to try to meet your objectives for growth and income, and most importantly, controlling risk. The end of the year or the beginning of a new year is a great time to do this review.

It’s only a guess, but there is a good chance that nothing gets done until after Jan. 1, meaning that the aforementioned spending cuts and tax increases do occur, at least temporarily, until negotiations can be worked out. It is also highly likely that whatever the resulting decision on tax rates is, it will be retroactive to Jan.1.

My feeling is that we do not face a financial markets' disaster as we work through the process of dealing with this latest area of contention. But, with the potential for above average volatility and the chance I am wrong, it makes sense to err on the side of caution, especially for investors influenced by short-term market fluctuations.

Having a moderate cash reserve will buffer your portfolio against large price swings and allow you to invest at lower prices should a decline of significance occur. Owning larger, high quality companies may also provide protection against the higher volatility that smaller and more speculative stocks typically exhibit during emotional times.

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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