Bailey's General Store owners plan to rebuild, offer new online store – Cape Coral Breeze - 1Home

Bailey's General Store owners plan to rebuild, offer new online store – Cape Coral Breeze

Bailey’s General Store recently reported that Hurricane Ian is not the first, second or third hurricane that the store on Sanibel has weathered, and it has and will rebuild again after this recent storm.Fourth-generation owner-operator Calli Johnson shared that the store cherished by the community was inundated with storm surge and wind-driven rain that damaged […]



Bailey’s General Store recently reported that Hurricane Ian is not the first, second or third hurricane that the store on Sanibel has weathered, and it has and will rebuild again after this recent storm.
Fourth-generation owner-operator Calli Johnson shared that the store cherished by the community was inundated with storm surge and wind-driven rain that damaged a majority of the products and equipment. The surge washed almost all of the products off the shelves. Roof damage contributed to further destruction by the rain. With the current state of the buildings, the family owner-operators have been forced to restart at their flagship business. They asked the public to remember Bailey’s how it was the last time they shopped at it, instead of the state of the business and the shopping center after Ian.
Johnson reported that the Bailey family and store have been a cornerstone of the community since Frank P. Bailey founded the Sanibel Packing Company — now known as Bailey’s General Store — as a packing and shipping facility for the agricultural products on the islands. Founded in 1899, the store was originally located on Matthews’ wharf, where the ferry arrived and departed with islanders, vehicles and shipping products that were sent and received. The location was at the end of what is now Bailey Road. When a hurricane in the 1920s destroyed that store, Bailey’s rebuilt next to San Carlos Bay, instead of over it.
She shared that the family has learned about resilience after 123 years of continuous operation. When the store outgrew itself, Bailey’s moved to its current location as the shopping center at the end of Periwinkle Way, at the corner of Tarpon Bay, at the helm of second-generation owner-operators Francis and Sam Bailey. The business continued to grow into the general store known and loved for years. Bailey’s is currently stewarded by its third- and fourth-generation of owner operators, Mead, Richard, herself, Bailie and Dane Johnson. The family is proud to continue the legacy of serving the islands.
Johnson reported that the community traditionally seeks hope at Bailey’s during times of uncertainty, most recently after Hurricanes Charley and Irma, and the family finds purpose and takes pride in providing that sense of security. Ian dealt a blow that does not allow for a physical gathering space at Bailey’s, but visitors and residents can take solace that the family is present and working to serve the community as it always has in the past and will in the future. Currently, they are offering a small sense of normalcy at The Island Store on Captiva, where shoppers can find groceries, lunch and snacks. The family is working to pivot its offerings to best suit the community’s post-Ian needs at the store. They recently hosted a gathering at the Captiva store to reconnect with neighbors and thank first responders.
She shared that Bailey’s is also offering a little slice of paradise with its new online store. The available stock of coveted Bailey’s Christmas Ornaments are ready to ship across the country. New items that were salvageable from the Sanibel store after the storm will be added as soon as possible, including hats, shirts, mugs and bags. The stored items survived the storm above the high water line, so shoppers will have their own Ian authentic souvenir. It is one way that visitors who are unable to return to the islands can feel close to their favorite vacation locale and support a small family business.
Johnson reported that in the near future, the family will focus on continuing operation of The Island Store and online shop to support business while plans at the Bailey’s Shopping Center take shape. Once the insurance evaluation is completed, intensive renovations will take place to rebuild the center. To ensure resiliency for the next generation of visitors and residents, it will entail demolishing the current retail properties and rebuilding an elevated shopping center. It is immensely emotional for the family and community to say goodbye to the buildings, but the heart of Bailey’s lies with the family and community that know and love it. They look forward to welcoming families when the doors reopen.
To shop the Bailey’s online store, visit https://baileysofsanibel.myshopify.com/.
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