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New Beach Planet store opens on Ocean Drive


Shortly after noon Saturday, as “GRAND OPENING” banners flapped in the sea breeze, a slow trickle of curious shoppers wandered into the new Beach Planet store on Ocean Drive, across from Bobby’s Restaurant, to see what the place had to offer.

“It was OK,” store owner Yair Alon replied when asked about his opening weekend. “It was not good, but it was not bad. We got a few tourists who came by Friday and Saturday. Sunday was a little slow.

“It’ll get better once people know we are here and see what we have.”

The store is managed by Alon’s daughter, Shani, who said many of the people who stopped in told her they liked the store and its wide selection of beach merchandise. She said only 70 percent of the inventory arrived in time for the opening.

“In two or three weeks,” she said, “we should be fully stocked.”

This past weekend, shoppers found displays of beach chairs, umbrellas and children’s toys, as well as skim boards, in the open-air entryway.

Indoors, there was an array of beach towels and blankets, swimwear, beach-fashion clothing and footwear, beach jewelry, sunglasses and sunblock, beach mugs and thermoses, and beach-décor signs and magnets.

There were also rows of neatly stacked souvenir T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and visors – most of them with the words “Vero Beach” emblazoned on them – throughout the store, which projected a light, airy, casual feel.

Among the recognizable name brands found in the store were Salt Life, Ray-Ban and Cobian.

“People will like what they see,” Alon said. “We just need to get more people to come see it.”

Alon heads a family partnership that owns eight similar stores in Florida, including one in downtown Delray Beach. The other stores, though, are considerably larger, ranging in size from 7,000 to 12,000 square feet.

“This one is a baby-size store,” he said earlier. “It’s only 2,700 square feet.”

Alon signed a five-year lease with the property owner, Miami-based Sony Investment Real Estate Inc., shortly before Christmas. He also has an option for 10 additional years, if the business is a success.

The structure was initially built to be a restaurant, but Sony was unable to find a tenant willing to meet its price – $12,000 per month in rent, plus all taxes, insurance costs and maintenance expenses.

Alon said he explored the possibility of putting a store on Ocean Drive after visiting Vero Beach last year and seeing the building was available for lease.