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New cafe operator surpassing old

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Although Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore was opposed to the county commission’s decision in May 2010 to award the lease for the concession at the county-run Manatee Public Beach to a new operator, she’s changed her tune.

After viewing the revenue figures and rent payments for the first five months of operation by United Park Services of Tampa, Whitmore said she is “impressed.”

UPS outperformed former operator P.S. Beach by $43,784 in total revenues for the last five months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 when P.S. Beach had the lease.

With rent payments to the county under the UPS contract based partially on a percentage of gross revenues for the restaurant and gift shop, Manatee County did better with UPS than with P.S. Beach.

UPS has a separate contract for the concession at Coquina Beach, while P.S. Beach included that operation in its contract. All the figures reported contain both Coquina Beach and cafe-gift shop revenues for both P.S. Beach and UPS.

For the last five months of 2010, the county received $54,398 more in rent payments than what P.S. Beach paid for the same period in 2009.

Total gross revenues reported by UPS for the August-December 2010 period were $889,668, while P.S. Beach had revenues of $845,884 for the same five months of 2009.

During the third quarter of 2010, UPS was only required to pay rent for August and September. That figure came to $57,817, according to Nick Azzara, county information outreach coordinator. Because UPS took over cafe operations July 21, 2010, the contract did not require a July rent payment.

The $22,008 UPS two-month payment bested the $35,809 three-month payment made by P.S. Beach for the same quarter when calculated on a monthly average.

Whitmore told members of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce board of directors recently that based on UPS’ performance, it is now time to “get behind them and support them.

“I was originally opposed, but the county is doing much better in rent payments than before,” she said.

P.S. Beach and the Beach Shop had held the lease since 1992. The lease had been renewed every five years by the county commission until 2010, when Manatee County administrator Ed Hunzeker put it out for bid.

A three-member panel of county staff recommended the lease be awarded to UPS, although the P.S. Beach final offer was equal to that of UPS. UPS also operates a concession at Fort DeSoto Park, and its owners operate several businesses in Tampa.

Several hundred people showed up in support of P.S. Beach at the county commission meeting in May 2010 before the vote.

County commissioners Whitmore, John Chappie and Joe McClash opposed the change in operators, but without success. The contract was awarded to UPS, 4-3.

Whitmore said she’s had to change her mind about UPS.

“I can’t argue with the figures and that’s what it’s all about,” she said. “We have to support them.”

Under its contract, which differs from the PS Beach contract, UPS pays a flat rate of $342,000 in annual rent plus 4 percent of the revenues in excess of $2.5 million. For Coquina Beach, UPS is paying 8 percent of gross revenues in monthly rent, according to Azzara.

6 Responses to New cafe operator surpassing old

  1. Bob Mann says:

    Wow more money, maybe they raised their prices, and how does the food taste, how are the portions, how is the service. Did you get a smile? Oh I forgot, its about the money.

  2. Ed James says:

    Yes, This new company is doing well, but it still don’t justify what was done to previous owners. That was morally wrong! This is whats wrong with America today, “GREED”, and no accountability. It will come back to haunt You!!!!!

  3. Paula Olivero says:

    Not so fast Commissioner….I do not believe you are comparing apples to apples. I think it is hardly appropriate to compare revenue from the current 2010 contract with UPS to the old contract with P.S. Beach which had different expectations. They are two different contracts! I’m sure that if P.S. Beach were allowed to stay they would have produced just as much and probably without the price increases, the elimation of some items and the addition of booze. P.S. Beach’s final offer was fter al, equal to that of UPS.
    This is one issue that you should just leave alone rather than resurrect aggitating those of us who know the truth. This whole deal was “politics” at its not so best.

  4. susan davis says:

    did they take into consideration that the economey is doing better?

  5. I also wonder about this comparison. 2009 was a horrible year. I know a lot of restaurants were killed or severely hurt because of 2009. We have a small inn on Longboat Key and though not a restaurant, our business drop 20% in 2009 versus 2008. We recovered completely in 2010 back to normal. 2009 was horrible. They should compare 2008, not 2009 to 2010.

  6. Jeanne says:

    It isn’t always about the money. The new operators were lucky enough to be awarded a lease for a business that was well established. P.S.Beach (Dee) made that business what it is now.

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