Holmes Beach may suspend chain-store openings

Holmes Beach
Holmes Beach

The city commissioners of Holmes Beach, a town on an island west of Bradenton, unanimously agreed to temporarily stop retail chains, or “formula” businesses, from opening stores in the city.

The commission’s approval of an anti-chain ordinance in its first reading last week followed an announcement that a new Baskin Robbins-Dunkin Donuts outlet is planned for Holmes Beach.

The commission’s 5-0 vote advanced the anti-chain ordinance to a second reading at a later date.

The language of the proposed ordinance would impose a moratorium on issuance of permits allowing “new formula retail establishments within the city limits for eight months beginning June 14, 2016,” the date city commissioners began pursuing a moratorium.

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Jean Peelen, vice chairwoman of the city commission, said as tourism on Santa Maria Island has become more year-round and less seasonal, national retail chains are becoming more interested in doing business there.

“It used to be the joke that Starbucks was moving to the island, and everybody knew it was a joke because there was no business in the summertime and in the fall,” Peelen said.

But she said tourism promoters now market warm-season vacations to Santa Maria Island: “They’re pushing the ‘shoulder’ seasons, which is the spring, summer, and fall. Therefore, we are now becoming very attractive to formula businesses.” [Bradenton Herald] — Mike Seemuth