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Date of Issue: April 16, 2008

Cornerstone sells to developer

Corner property sold
This building on Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach that has housed the Sterling Anvil since the 1970s and another building around the corner that contains storage spaces and Essence of Time were sold by Earl Mowry for $1.29 million April 8. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

The building at the corner of Gulf Drive and Holmes Boulevard in Holmes Beach that since its opening in the 1970s housed the Sterling Anvil jewelry store was sold April 8.

The property at 5337 Gulf Drive was developed by Earl Mowry of Holmes Beach and expanded shortly after the new Sterling Anvil jewelry store opened for business in 1971.

The Sterling Anvil developed into a benchmark on Anna Maria Island, with customers from far and near seeking the shop’s original jewelry creations.

Although no longer open at this location, Sterling Anvil owners Roxanne Reid and Mary Norman are expected to seal a deal for their new location next week. They are adamant that they are not going out of business, but are relocating.

But with the announced sale, came the news that rents would increase substantially. Something owner Earl Mowry - unquestionably a benevolent landlord - had rarely done in 30-plus years.

The adjoining property, including a second commercial building at 5306 Holmes Blvd., was included in the sale.

Mowry said it was his understanding that the new owner, Murphy Property Group LLC, has no plans for changes at the property at this time.

Michael and Debbie Hynds are principals in an investment group for the new owner corporation that lists its principal office at 613 N. Point Blvd., Holmes Beach.

Reid and Norman have closed the Anvil to pack and prepare for their move “around the corner” on Marina Drive to the location of another jewelry store, Creations by L. The “Creations” bead store has plans to downsize and relocate to the former location of the Hair Cottage in the building just north of its present location.

“The Sterling Anvil,” Norman says, “will open - hopefully July 1 - in a brand new shop with the same products and service we have offered for the past 37 years.” Rosemary and Todd Fleck, owners since 1995 of Essence of Time, a little shop of consignment booths and treasures, will "try to stay," according to Rosemary. "We've been offered a lease,” she said, but the monthly payment amounts to an increase of 60 percent, “1,000 more than the $1,400 we paid Earl, plus a substantial down payment, but we're going to try to make it here. The new owners said they hope we stay, but it might be hard."

Mowry operated his former business, Island TV, at the location for many years until his retirement several years ago. Other tenants over the years in the original corner store now occupied by the Garden Hut, included a tackle shop and later the Island chamber of commerce.