The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 14 - December 24, 2008


ABC Rentals will meet your needs

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Bob and Lynn Shaffer rent beach and baby equipment at

What do you think about when it’s the middle of winter in Buffalo, N. Y., and there’s seven feet of snow on the ground? What Bob and Lynn Shaffer thought about was Anna Maria Island and all the wonderful and warm winter vacations they had with their family. That was the year they said, “Enough,” sold their home and business and moved to Florida.

It didn’t take long for these youthful grandparents to start looking for a small business to start after relocating in 2002. Their business background was in retail sales and rentals in Buffalo, so opening the same type business was a natural. Only this time instead of renting appliances they were renting beach and baby equipment.

ABC Rentals started in a warehouse in Sarasota and quickly became busy supplying rental items to Sarasota, Bradenton and the islands. Five years ago, the Shaffers opened a store in Sarasota and in May of 2008, after multiple customer requests, opened another on Cortez Road on the way to the beach. The business has grown so much they now have a 3,000 square foot warehouse, three trucks, two drivers, the Sarasota Ritz Carlton as clients and an inventory of 200 cribs.

But cribs are only one of the approximately 75 rental items available at ABC Rentals. You can also rent for port-a-cribs, toddler beds, booster seats, high chairs, joggers, strollers, car seats, bassinets and more. They also have available rollaway beds, air beds and air mattresses for those planned and unplanned winter visitors, as well as beach chairs, umbrellas, fishing polls, tennis rackets, bikes and kayaks. You can even rent beach and standard wheelchairs, walkers and shower stools for your senior visitors, and if they don’t already have something in stock, they will try and get it.

If you’re concerned about placing your precious child or grandchild in a rented crib or high chair, Lynn Shaffer says don’t be. She personally cleans every item when it’s returned with hospital grade sanitizers and then puts it through a thorough rinse.

In addition sheets and pillow cases are professionally laundered and mattresses sprayed. ABC Rentals guarantees the cleanliness of its inventory, and Bob Shaffer says his wife is a meticulous woman who treats other people’s grandchildren like she treats her own. In addition, the Shaffers retire 20% of their inventory every year keeping their rentals fresh, and donate the retired inventory to local charities where they can help families in need.

ABC Rentals is also a very well stocked beach shop with off island prices. There are tons of souvenirs, beach supplies like sandals, beach bags, candles, sunglasses for both adults and kids, children’s clothes and tee shirts, boogie boards, water toys and some adult clothing. The shop also functions as an area information center with complimentary maps, brochures and business cards available for dozens of local businesses. Truly one stop shopping for most of your day at the beach needs.

ABC Rentals’ motto is "Let Us Exceed Your Expectations," and these parents of five and grandparents of four work hard to make that happen. The beach is just over the bridge, the sun is shinning, everyone is on vacation and there isn’t a snowflake in sight.

ABC Rentals

12408 Cortez Road W., Cortez
Open daily
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(call for hours in season)
MasterCard, Visa, Discover accepted

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Stocks paying more than Treasury bonds

Investment Corner

In a somewhat historic turn of events, the recent decline in the stock market and simultaneous rise in bond prices has caused the average common stock to provide more income than that paid by U.S. Treasury bonds. This is the first time this has occurred in more than 50 years.

Keep in mind, that as Treasury bond prices rise due to demand by investors seeking safety, the dollar value of interest promised to be paid to the bond-owner becomes a lower percentage of the bond price. The level of fear recently has been quite high and the ensuing scramble to own treasuries has driven prices up to the point where a buyer of a 10-year treasury bond today would lock in a yield of about 2.75 percent annually until the bond matures. Thirty-year bonds yield slightly more at about 3.1 percent.

These are not very good rewards to the investor, but at present, many are more worried about return of their principal, rather than return on their principal, and bonds issued by the U.S. government are considered to have the ultimate guarantee of return of principal.

When stock prices move up or down, the percentage yield of the current dollar value of the dividend stream varies with the direction and extent of the price fluctuation. The recent decline in stock prices means that the yield of the dollar value of the dividend payments is a higher percentage. The move down in stock prices and up in bond prices has gone to the extent where a portfolio of stocks may yield significantly more that 10- and 30-year Treasury bonds.

The dividend yield on the S&P 500 index has now risen to about 2.9 percent. However, ignoring the 128 stocks in the S&P 500 which pay no dividends at all would reveal a yield on the 372 remaining companies of about 3.9 percent (data from My firm’s Elite Dividend Portfolio, a group of about 40 dividend paying common stocks, currently yields about 3.2 percent, although, we target growth of dividends rather that the highest yielding companies.

What is the significance of common stocks yielding more than bonds? In my opinion, it is a sign of the level of investor fear and likely an indication that stocks are very undervalued compared to bonds. Of course, this condition could last for a while longer and fluctuations in stock prices tend to be greater than those observed in bonds most of the time.

For the long-term oriented investor, I would make the observation that a diversified portfolio of high quality, dividend paying companies can provide more income that Treasury bonds, and about the same income stream as that of a certificate of deposit, while offering the potential for both price appreciation over time and increases to the dollar value of the dividend payout as companies continue to grow and share profits with shareholders over time. Of course, the investor must acknowledge the risk of higher price volatility and the potential that an individual company could reduce its dividend payment. Also, individual companies have the potential for failure (bankruptcy).

For these reasons, I believe higher quality companies with sound balance sheets might be a better investment than going after the absolute highest yields. Diversifying to reduce company specific risk is also a requirement for a sound portfolio.

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.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper