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COSTCO Shoppers — Get Ready! Costco Opening Soon in Bradenton, Florida 

Manatee County’s first Costco, one of the most-anticipated new businesses coming to the Bradenton area, is scheduled to open at 8:00 am on Aug. 21st.
The Costco’s new wholesale warehouse, part of a more than 300,000 square foot retail development at 805 Lighthouse Drive in Bradenton, FL is very close to completion. The project, called the Market Place is located at Heritage Harbour on the northeast corner of State Road 64 and Interstate 75.
 
Did you know that Costco is one of the largest retailers in the world? As of March 2019 Costco has 770 warehouses worldwide. Costco has long been known for selling bulk quantities of high quality foods and other consumables at discount prices. And, Costco will not stock a product if they feel the wholesale price is too high. If you have been in a Costco store recently did you notice that the aisles are not labelled? And, do you know the reason for that? Costco strategy is that we, their customers will wander the aisles searching for what we came for while putting more items in our carts along the way. The same reason Costco places popular items at the back of their store, again more items placed in our carts, not necessarily what we came for, while we go in search for what we really came to buy. In comparison it is actually easier to find a product in Costco than their Walmart competitor. For example, Costco stores display 4000 products open layout compared to Walmart’s approximately 100,000 products displayed in somewhat cluttered aisles. Certainly something to think about on your next shopping trip. And then there is Costco’s legendary free samples. Yes, you can stand in line to fill up on bites of glazed salmon, sausage bites, spoonfuls of yogurt, crackers and cream cheese and so much more.
 
No matter what Costco’s strategy is, I don’t know about you, but I love Costco. And not just because of the free samples – you see there is a 99% chance you will not find me in a Costco free samples line-up. I have nothing against the free samples, I actually think it is a great way to ‘try before you buy’ a new product, but I just don’t enjoy standing in those line-ups.
 
You might be wondering, on your one week vacation with Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals, why would you want to shop at a huge warehouse and buy bulk items? The answer is simple, you might not, but there is a lot more to visiting a Costco warehouse than free samples and buying bulk-sized everything. From the health and beauty items, good deals on men’s, ladies and kids clothing, yummy fresh treats from their bakery, I usually manage to find something different in one of the many Costco departments. Oh, and how about the $5.00 Costco Rotisserie Chicken? Pair with a salad and you have an easy meal because really, who wants to cook when they’re on vacation – not me!
As well, many of our guests are staying with us longer than one week and prefer a one stop shopping experience which Costco provides. And, I would never forget to mention our ‘Snowbirds’ — they love to stock up on items for their lengthy visit allowing themselves more time to enjoy the beach, pool and other activities.
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Here are a few things I definitely think are worth going to Costco for —
Eggs – you can get everything from conventional to free-range eggs, all at a lower cost than at many other grocery stores.
Costco’s Food Court – Filling and inexpensive it’s hard to pass by without stopping at the food court. Choose from cheese, pepperoni or veggie pizza, frozen yogurt, chicken Caesar salads, chicken bake, turkey provolone sandwiches, organic beef-based cheeseburgers, hot dogs or for those who don’t eat meat, try a plant-based açai bowl. For some shoppers it’s all about the hotdog and sofa, and it really is a deal!— since 1985, the price of the soda and hot dog combo has remained at $1.50.
Cheese – Fancy Cheeses, delicious! The Costco’s cheese aisle offers a variety of high quality cheese and you can get a large piece for a good price.
Costco’s ‘Kirkland’ – Great quality house brand products under their own name. Costco’s Kirkland Signature label offers everything from cereal and olive oil to dress shirts and vitamins. And when they are packaged with the Costco store brand – Kirkland Signature the discounts are sweet.
Rotisserie Chicken – The $5 rotisserie chicken is a loss-leader for Costco, but a bargain for us hungry consumers.
Meat – Their meat department is always well stocked with fresh, very good quality products.
Gasoline – The Costco gasoline station is easy to use, straight in and straight out and gas is typically 6 cents or more per gallon cheaper than other stations.
Beer, Wine and Liquor – Costco sells many alcohol, wine, beer, & spirits under the Kirkland Signature label for great prices.
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Other than a brand new, brightly lit, impeccably clean warehouse what else can Bradenton consumers expect with the upcoming arrival of Costco?
A large variety of services will be available — According to latest reports, the site plan for Market Place include — the Hair Cuttery, Amazing Lash Studio, dental office, several restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Miller’s Ale House, Longhorn Steakhouse, Panera Bread, Blaze Pizza, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Jersey Mike’s Subs and more!
 
Remember, Costco is a membership warehouse club. Memberships are available online and in Costco stores.
If you already have a Costcomembership card it is valid at any Costco warehouse in the world. Just make sure you tell the cashier that it is an international card and they will input a special code for you to use your card.
So, when you visit Bradenton’s brand new Costco what will you be buying?
Maybe I’ll see you there, just don’t look for me in one of the food samples line-up. 😊
For the latest up to date news, things to do, special offers, travel tips and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog
Note: Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals offers the above company names and affiliated links as suggestions only. We are not receiving commissions from any of the above and are listing them only to assist our guests. We recommend services that we or close friends and family have experienced.
The content of this blog is not to be copied, adapted or shared without the written consent of Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals.
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Our Favourite Beach Shops — Anna Maria Island, Florida 

Our Favourite Beach Shops — Anna Maria Island, Florida 
 
Anna Maria Island has it all — beautiful beaches, amazing food, plenty of old Florida charm as well as many unique beach shops. As you enjoy the paradise of Anna Maria Island, your days at the beach and shopping if you choose to fit it in, here is a list of our favourite beach shops —
 
Alvin’s Island — 3658 E Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, FL
A great place, Alvin’s is so much more than a tourist beach gift shop. Surf shop, beach accessories, souvenirs and anything you need for your vacation at the beach.
They are always friendly even if they get busy and we shop here often!
They have a huge selection of souvenirs and clothes with a great selection of reasonably priced swimsuits. Their merchandise is good quality and prices are good whether you’re shopping the sale racks or not. Anna Maria Island logo’s hats, tees, shot glasses… you name it they have it.
 
Bridge Street Interiors — 100 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL
Don’t let the name fool you, once inside you will be pleasantly surprised with their merchandise. This is a really fun and relaxing place to shop. The owners are amazing and the products they sell are truly wonderful.
They have lots of cute costume jewelry, home decorations, scents, candles & tropical apparel. In the back they do have interior design services and can help you with your decorating needs. There are so many unique things in this store that it might just be my favourite on Anna Maria Island.
 
Green Turtle Shell & Gift Shop — 701 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach, FL
The fun gifts and souvenirs you’ll want to bring home from the island are waiting here! From a large variety of shells to funky beach accessories they have it all. There is also a selection of  jewelry, home decor, T-shirts and all the beach goodies you will want.
The Green Turtle Shop is only a few minute walk from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals and trust me your kids will love it. Our adult children still talk about their fond memories of many visits to the “Turtle Shop” and are now experiencing the same with their children.
 
Island Bazaar, East Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, Florida
Bridge Street Bazaar – Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, Florida
Island Bazaar offers two shops on Anna Maria Island. These two stores are popular beach tourist shops, one located in Holmes Beach and one in Bradenton Beach. My personal preference is the Holmes Beach location, which is the larger of the two. It has a large selection of beach wear including swimsuits, sun hats, and shoes. Both offer an array of clothing, hats, towels and all the beach souvenirs you could ask for. Lots of toys and trinkets that kids love looking through.
 
Sand Dollar Gift Shop — 5302 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL
The Sand Dollar Gift Shop is a unique boutique in Holmes Beach with a different feel than other shops on Anna Maria Island. They have a limited selection of stylish beachy clothes and jewelry. You will find lots of candles, soaps and home decor. This is a great shop to find unique gifts and keepsakes. Browsing in this little boutique is always enjoyable.
 
Sun & Surf Beach — 5418 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, Florida
Before you enter the store you will be greeted by about a dozen resident parrots. Everyday the friendly staff of this surf shop pull the parrot cages outside of the shaded store front to greet their guests. These entertaining parrots, each individually named, are a hit with adults and children alike. Once inside you can expect a fun tropical shopping experience with a nice selection of beach attire. The shop has lots of beach themed T-shirts, cover-ups and swim wear too. And, sometimes you’ll find furniture and other knick-knacks. There is a small play area for kids while you shop—such a great idea to help keep kids occupied. But, if they get bored you can take them back outside for another visit with the talking parrots.
 
West Coast Surf Shop — 3902 Gulf Drive North, Holmes Beach, Florida
This is the oldest surf shop on Florida’s west coast and sells items relevant to having fun on the beach and in the water. They have a large selection of swimwear, sportswear, surfboards, skimboards, skateboards, accessories, sunglasses, sandals and more.
 
As always, if you would like more information, please feel free to email or call us anytime!  We are happy to help! Contact us here.
 
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SUPERMARKET SHOPPING ON ANNA MARIA ISLAND

Publix — 3900 E Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, FL — 941-778-5422
Open daily 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
One stop shopping without leaving the Island, this location is very convenient for the Anna Maria Island vacationer. Publix is a short drive or trolley ride from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217. While this Anna Maria Island store might be smaller than most other Publix stores it offers a great selection of high quality goods. You might find things slightly cheaper on the mainland (Bradenton), but for me the convenience of not having to go inland across the bridge is totally worth the small price increase.
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In addition to the normal grocery selection, you will find their fresh produce is outstanding and the bakery is maybe a little too inviting. You really must try their key-lime pie, it is the best! They have a large beer/wine selection and the prepared foods are quick and delicious. It’s a great store for picking up everything you need for a beach picnic lunch, sandwiches, pizza, snacks, water and fountain drinks.
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Deli items are ordered ahead of time or get in line for a custom sandwich, wrap or flat bread. Their ready made rotisserie chickens are delicious and convenient for lunch or dinner. You can even get some really good in-store made sushi! The Publix party platters are a really easy option for entertaining large groups while on vacation.
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They also carry beach items such as towels, beach chairs, pool inflatables, sunscreen, umbrellas, etc.
I always find their staff extremely friendly and accommodating. As well, there is always someone available if you want carry out. The staff in the aisles are quick to help you find items and the customer service is excellent!
Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals
Even more convenient, this Anna Maria Island location offers on-line ordering and delivery to your Anna Maria Island Condo Rental. So easy, just go to Publix at Holmes Beach then click on Products and Services where you will find everything you need to place your order.
TripAdvisor Reviews —
  1. Everyone on Anna Maria shops here, and the pervasive friendliness makes it a fun experience. Whether they’re locals or visitors like us, no one seems to be rushed or frazzled. The staff always makes a point to ask where you live and engage you in conversation. The bakery offerings are plentiful and are conveniently located in the first aisle. Hard to resist! They sell Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, which are our favorite brand, and on one visit this year a brand representative was in the aisle offering a discounted price on a package of 1/2 pound each of turkey and ham. It was the perfect package for us. On another visit I just missed a wine tasting! The aisles aren’t very wide, but the feeling isn’t one of being crowded. We always find a good selection of produce and all the staples we need to stock our vacation rental.
  2. This is what grocery shopping should be about! Picture it–my wife and I come down here from NJ every year for 4 to 5 months in winter and another 2 in two week slots throughout the fall. When here we visit this store almost every day. It’s within walking distance of our Condo. Imagine a store where: If you’re looking for something someone will spot you and not only tell you where it is but offer to take you to the spot! If the cash register is idle, they will come out front and solicit customers to come to that lane to check-out! You can see who is in charge of every Dept. through large pictures in the area and, better still, see those people actively working the aisles. The deli almost always offers a sample slice and always tell you what’s on sale. They also do online ordering (great idea during” high season” winter). The Wine shelves are extremely well stocked and very competitive. For the best treat of all check out with Charlie (Ask him his latest golf score) and Terry (Ask him if he cares about Charlie’s golf score) and bumper banter bonus if you get both together. If you get to know Charlie well, ask him to show you his customer letter. He’ll know! Finally, when you’re all checked out (and bagged by one of many wonderful assistants–Ryan is my favorite) they will even offer to take your groceries and escort you to the car! It never stops. Perhaps the secret to their success is that I’ve heard that EVERY employee owns stock in this privately owned business. Gotta go now and shop!
  3. If you’d like to keep your food budget for two on a vacay to the Gulf Coast, under $100.00 per day? I give you “Publix” grocery store’s! Their food bar is fair and their fried chicken rivals any I’ve ever had!! And trust me if you live below the Mason-Dixon line you know fried chicken!! Also it doesn’t hurt to book a room with at least a small kitchenette. You might spend a couple more bucks on the kitchenette, but you’ll save more on the expensive prices at most FL. restaurant
  4. Visited here several times. Convenient, good parking, friendly staff, fresh food, good selection. Nice selection of fresh fish and cheeses.
 For the latest up to date news, things to do, special offers, travel tips and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog
 Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals
*Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals offers the above company names and affiliated links as suggestions only. We are not receiving commissions from the above and are listing only to assist our guests. We recommend services that we or close friends and family have experienced.
*The content of this blog is not to be copied, adapted or shared without the written consent of Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals.
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EXPERIENCE BRIDGE STREET — BRADENTON BEACH, FLORIDA

While you are enjoying your vacation with Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217  enjoy a few hours, the day or an evening on Bridge Street. Any day is a great day to visit Bridge Street and being only a five minute walk from your vacation rental you will probably visit more than once! From our condo you can walk south along Gulf Drive to the roundabout or, enjoy a beautiful stroll on the white sand beach of the Gulf of Mexico; when you reach the bright blue building “The Moose Lodge” you will know you have come to Bridge Street.
Anna Maria Island is known for its laid back Florida charm and as you walk along Bridge Street you will experience that feeling first hand.

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A little bit about Bridge Street …. Bridge Street is a walkable community with spectacular water views from the both the pier and the gulf beach. To the East at the end of Bridge Street, is the Pier which at one time was a wooden bridge and the only way on or off Anna Maria Island from the mainland. Now there is a beautiful fishing pier in place of the bridge with wonderful views of Sarasota Bay and Cortez. Historic Bridge Street is an active, beautifully landscaped street spanning from beach to bay where you will find minutes turn into hours, Shopping – Dining- or Playing. With no high-rise condos or shopping malls on Bradenton Beach, here on Bridge Street you will find quaint buildings with a mix of boutique style shops, restaurants and bars.
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The Pier is always a place we make a point to go. This pier is free and is nice to walk, to fish or watch others fish. You can rent fishing equipment and there is a fish cleaning stations with places for multiple rods. For those not wanting to fish there are places to sit in the shade with some old fashioned wooden swings at the end inviting you to sit and stay awhile. You will see lots of fish, we have often seen dolphin and there are pelicans and cormorants and many other types of birds as well. Just watching the boats pass by while the Cortez bridge goes up is so relaxing.
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Fish Hole Adventure Golf is home to our annual family golf outing. This unique miniature golf course is an old Florida fishing village themed course on Bridge Street. They have a ‘fish fact’ plaque at each hole and it is neat to read about the different type of fish. It has misters, which are really nice on a hot day. It is fairly priced and at the end you have a chance to win a free game which we have been lucky enough to do.

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Bridge Street Interiors – I absolutely love this store. This shop is deceiving, looks small from the outside, but once inside you will be surprised how much stuff is packed in. The store has lots of beautiful handcrafted jewelry, the best mermaid jewelry, home accessories, original prints, incredible wall art, scents, candles and tropical apparel.

They offer interior design services and are happy to help you with your decorating needs. Find a piece that won’t fit it in your luggage? That’s okay, they ship!I have been visiting this store for more than 25 years and purchased many treasures here. It is actually one of my favourite stores not just on Bridge Street, but in the whole Bradenton/Sarasota area.
Bridge Street Jewellers – a hidden treasure on Bridge this shop is definitely worth going into. The selection of jewelry is wonderful. It has some exquisite one-of-a-kind pieces, as well as sea life and other fine jewelry. You will see some amazing custom make pieces here. Every time we visit we find the staff to be very helpful, always taking their time with us and eager to answer any questions we have.
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Bridge Street Bazaar is such a cute shop with lots of beachy things, summer shoes, hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, purses and those delish coconut patties you can only get in Florida!

Back Alley Treasures is funky little spot. It’s like walking into a treasure chest full of original little treasures you won’t find at home. The Back Alley is home to several local artists’ work, unique jewelry, handmade gifts, great coffee and tasty treats. They don’t just sell home brewed coffee, they also serve espresso creations either hot or cold, island smoothies, frozen lemonade, as well as craft beer & fabulous wine.Live music on popular Bridge Street happens nightly and often in the afternoon as well. On any given day you might hear rock, blues, country, steel drum, and even Irish music. With a lot of great local talent on Anna Maria Island there is always a spot on Bridge Street to sit back and relax or get up and dance. The great thing about Bridge Street is if you don’t care from one s few minute walk will take you to another that’s more suited to your taste.

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Restaurants are plentiful on Bridge Street. A few of our favourites are:
Bridge Tender Inn – Indoor or outdoor dining with live entertainment. Great food and entertainment too! Right on the water overlooking Sarasota Bay with awesome views, great tropical drinks and good service.

​-​Island Creperie – We love this restaurant. Great food and service. Serve breakfast and early lunch and only open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
​-​Island Time – Right across from the beach this is a fun place to grab some food, drinks and listen to music. Nice indoor or outside seating. Always good live entertainment.
​-​Bridge Street Bistro – We have always had excellent meals here. The food is awesome with good drinks and a nice wine menu. Nice dining room with white table clothes. Located on the second floor offers a great view, a perfect place to watch the sunset.
Parking is limited on Bridge Street, so we recommend leaving your car at the condo and walking or using the FREE island trolley (there is a stop right in front of our condo).
For the latest up to date news, things to do, special offers, travel tips and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

*Please note — Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals offer the above company names and affiliated links as suggestions only. We are not receiving commissions from any and are listing them only as an aid for our guests. We recommend services that we or close friends and family have experienced so we know you will be taken care of.*The content of this blog is not to be copied, adapted or shared without the written consent of Anna Maria Condo Rentals.

UNUSUAL LOCAL SHOPS – Anna Maria Island

THE SEA HAGG IN CORTEZ FISHING VILLAGE  –  941-795-5756

Don’t miss taking a stroll through this very unique store minutes from our condo. While travelling East you will find The Sea Hagg on Cortez Road about three blocks past the Cortez bridge.
Before you even enter the shop you will see many interesting pieces. The front yard, referred to as the Salvage Garden, you will find old boats, sculptures and probably something that no one else has. So many eclectic items and nautical themed salvage. Located a short walk across the Cortez Bridge from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. – Anna Maria Island 34217 – Florida

The inside of The Gift shop is amazing. You will see some of most interestIng floor to ceiling Nautical curiosities, antiques and gifts. If you’re looking for an unusual, one-of-a-kind piece, this place will have it.

I found some cute mermaid and seahorse decorative soaps as well as coffee mugs priced very reasonably. I thought some items were priced high, but asked myself, could I find them somewhere else? The answer was, probably not.

The Sea Hagg will ship items (domestic delivery) to your doorstep, please ask them about International delivery.

VILLAGE OF THE ARTS IN DOWNTOWN BRADENTON  –  villageofthearts.com

Located only five blocks from downtown Bradenton in a quaint residential-commercial area.

The Village of the Arts is full of 1920’s restored bungalows. These colourful bungalows are home to galleries, restaurants, studios and specialty shops. This vibrant art community has lots of unique venues. The Village offers an eclectic mix of art, ranging from pottery, paintings, metal work, jewellery music, gourmet cuisine, fashion and literature.

It is amazing to go into these artists own homes/studios to view their products. We found so many different types and styles of art on display and were amazed how talented all these artists are. The variety of art and artist is beyond impressive. All the neighbours we met were very friendly and the artists were very talkative.

There are several restaurants to choose, the following are my favourites, Bird Rock Taco Shack, Arts and Eats and Orytgia.

Businesses are open year round, seven days a week, but each has different daily hours. We found the best time to go is the First Friday night or Saturday afternoon of the month (First Friday Art Walk) as most places will be open. I recommend calling the galleries and the restaurant you’re planning on visiting the day before because this is a live/work community and many places are by appointment only. Most places in Village has easy access to free street parking.

We love the Village of Arts and the mom and pop feel of a genuine live/work neighbourhood along with the sincerity of the unique artists and vendors.

For the latest up to date news, things to do, events, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog