The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 17 No. 30 - May 10, 2017


Finding a good book is Paradise Found

LaPensee Plumbing Pools Air


Owner Kate Brenner and store manager
Josh Aponte invite you to come read a good book.

There are few beach activities that surpass reading a good book in the shade of a striped umbrella with the aqua Gulf water tickling your toes and the soft breeze tickling you nose. It may sound corny, but you know I'm right, and whoever created the Anna Maria Island beaches had a book reader in mind. Now we're lucky enough to have a book store which also has book readers in mind with real books.

Paradise Found on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria is a book store, not an Island shop that happens to have books, but a real book store located in one of the most charming buildings in all of Anna Maria within the Historic Green Village. When's the last time you saw a new book store on the Island or anywhere else? I'm thinking never, at least not in my memory.

Kate Brenner and her mother, Genie Ford, opened Paradise Found on Nov. 6 last year, fulfilling a long time dream they both had. Ford previously owned a book store in northern Virginia, and when she relocated to Florida, where she has deep family roots, she immediately began her search for another location with the small town feel similar to Virginia. Brenner attended college in Florida and returned to Bradenton a little over four years ago. At that time, she opened a rare and exotic plant nursery in Cortez that she still owns selling through word of mouth and online.

Paradise Found carries all genre of books, best sellers, local Florida authors, cookbooks and poetry in addition to a very well stocked magazine section, something else you rarely see outside of drug and grocery stores. Books are priced at the publisher's price; no premium is added. They also have a children's section with mini chairs and a wall mural.

In addition, subtlety scattered throughout the lovely wide open space of this historic home you'll find the works of local artists – watercolors, textiles, oil paintings, sculptures, quilts and, of course, some of Brenner's plant dish gardens, air plants, driftwood art, vertical gardens and more. Helping Ford and Brenner make their dream come true is Josh Aponte their manager.

The shop also has a bargain area, and next season Brenner is considering initiating a buy back policy so vacationers can sell their vacation books back to Paradise Found and not have to carry them home. Also in the future Brenner and Ford are working on a writer's workshop event over a three-day period involving authors, book agents and the community, as well as other special book related events. They already have an author scheduled for February as one of their special event venues. Their mantra is to include and give back to the community, something that is already happening just by virtue of opening a book store.

What do you do when it rains at the beach? Brenner's advice is to come and sit a spell next to the fireplace in one of her comfy chairs and browse the stacks. But when the sun comes out it's time to leave the Kindle at home and get a real book that works on the beach.

In the words of the illustrious Jerry Seinfeld; "A bookstore is one of the only pieces of physical evidence we have that people are still thinking," and we've got a real live one in our backyard.


505 Pine Avenue

Anna Maria


Monday through Saturday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All major credit cards accepted

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Reverse mortgages worth another look

Investment Corner

I have written about reverse mortgages over the years, at least twice here in the Sun. My advice was that reverse mortgages were expensive for the borrower, but in the case where a retired person or couple had run out of assets, using the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage wasn't the worst idea in the world.

I'm bringing the topic back one more time because some changes in federal guidelines have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option for those who are over age 62, that own their home free and clear of another mortgage and who are concerned about the possibility of running low on retirement income during their lifetime

Space limitations don't' allow us to go into a full primer on reverse mortgages, but let's hit some of the highlights.

• Fees are down: The up front mortgage insurance premium applied to all reverse mortgages was reduced from 2.5 percent of the loan amount to 0.5 percent by the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013, as long as the borrower doesn't tap more than 60 percent of the available credit balance in the first year. Other fees have been standardized and are roughly in line with a traditional home mortgage, but often lenders will issue credits to offset some or all of these other expenses.

• Education: Borrowers are required to attend a consumer counseling session to make sure they understand the nature of the reverse mortgage. The cost of this session is $125

• Borrowing limit: The limit for reverse mortgage credit lines depends on the age of the youngest borrower, current interest rates and the lenders margin. Generally, you can access about half of the value of your principal resident, up to a current maximum value of $625,000.

• Payments: You don't need to make payment on a reverse mortgage. The money you borrow and accrued interest must be repaid when you no longer live in the home. This can be through a move to another location, or if you pass away. The home will then be sold, the reverse mortgage paid off and any excess above that can be left to heirs.

In the past, advice was generally to take out the reverse mortgage as a last resort when it was obvious additional funds may be needed. Under current guidelines, that advice is outdated. Reverse mortgage lines of credit actually grow over time, giving the borrower the ability to borrow more. So, the current advice in most situations is to establish the line of credit in your mid-60s, when eligible, and instead of borrowing, just let the line of credit rest with a zero balance.

A line of credit for about $125,000 will grow to about $190,000 in 10 years, 290,000 in 20 years and over $440,000 in 30 years. Establishing, but not accessing the line of credit until later in retirement gives the retiree a lot of flexibility. The exact loan characteristics are influenced by the age(s) of the borrowers as well as the current level of interest rates.

In summary, for those who may find themselves real estate rich and liquid asset challenged, a reverse mortgage may be a good option.

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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