Business people were concerned after a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop opened in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island in 2017. Will a McDonald’s be next?
Anna Maria Island has always been home to mom and pop shops so the opening of chains opens up the floodgates to, what’s next? Chains want to come to our popular Island that over the last few years has become a year-round vacation spot. What people love most about Anna Maria Island is that Old Florida feeling you get when you visit. There isn’t a McDonald’s, Burger King or Starbucks on every street corner which suits property owners and visitors alike.
For years now people have been talking about the ‘if or when’ a McDonald’s will come to the Island. Rumours have been circulating recently about a McDonald’s opening at 699 Manatee Avenue, the site of a former Bank of America. Since the branch closed permanently December 5, 2017 speculation has been rampant about possible new tenants.
On December 20, 2017 three signs reading “McDonald’s Coming Soon” were found posted on the Bank of America site at the intersection of East Bay Drive and Manatee Avenue. One of the signs was posted facing East Bay Drive traffic, one faced Manatee Avenue West and another was on the turn lane for northbound motorists from East Bay Drive to access eastbound Manatee Avenue West and the Anna Maria Island Bridge.
Not long after sign sightings, the phones at the Holmes Beach city hall were ringing off the hook. Holmes Beach Commissioner, Pat Morton said, “it’s somebody’s idea of a joke and it’s not going to happen”. According to Holmes Beach code enforcement officer, Nate Brown, the signs were phoney and posted illegally and he confirmed that the property is not zoned for a restaurant. From a distance the signs appeared authentic, but looking closely the signs were made of a thin paper covering old political signs from 2016 Forward Manatee. The signs have since been removed.
Gone for now is the excitement — negative or positive — spurred by the purportedly imminent arrival of the burger chain.
My opinion – NO McDonald’s, NO problem, the abundance of restaurants and food options on Anna Maria Island are endless.
We will not be disappointed if a McDonald’s is never built on Anna Maria Island. We, like others, enjoy the quiet Old Florida charm of our beloved Island.
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