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Community invited to celebrate Billy’s Rentals 10th anniversary

By Staff | Aug 12, 2009

Billy and Salli Kirkland, owners of Billy’s Rentals, would like to invite the community to join them in celebrating their 10 years of being in business on Sanibel.

The celebration will be held at the Sanibel Community House on Wednesday, Aug. 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be Texas Hold ‘Em and blackjack mini games, food and beverages, raffle prizes, a silent auction and a chance to win a new Schwinn bicycle, a Schwinn scooter or a Segway.

All proceeds from the party will be donated for Sanibel shared use path improvements and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. If you cannot attend the fundraiser and you still want to make a donation, please stop by Billy’s Bike Shop, located at 1509 Periwinkle Way, or call 472-3620 and ask for Sara Nilsson.

August 19, 1999 was the year when Billy’s Rentals opened at 1470 Periwinkle Way. The excited owners saw the location as a place to offer their services to the general public. Previously, Billy had been operating bike and beach rental locations at a variety of island resorts since 1985. With the Periwinkle location – formerly known as Island Moped – he could offer bicycles, surreys, motor scooters and beach equipment.

Today, Billy’s Rentals is still operating out of the original small building, offering fun recreational experiences to all residents and visitors. Billy and Salli have finally fulfilled a big dream: buy land to build a home on Sanibel and work the business they love.

“Biking has become very popular on the island. Visitors around the world come to Sanibel to ride bikes. They love the laid-back style and being able to slow-down in a fast-paced world,” said Billy. “The shared use path makes it so user-friendly to get around the island. People love riding bikes to the beaches; it’s the perfect island activity. And we feel great about helping people getting out of their cars and reducing carbon footprints.”

In fact, Billy and Salli saw how popular biking had become, not only to tourists, but also to local residents. They opened a full-service bike repair shop in 2005. Billy’s Bike Shop provides bike sales, repairs and service, and road bike rentals.

“It’s great to see the locals help support small, independent, island businesses,” said Dan Nilsson, operations manager at Billy’s Bike Shop.

In addition, Billy and Salli recognize those who helped with the Billy’s Rentals success.

“Billy’s Rentals would not exist if it weren’t for the support of the local community and the City of Sanibel. There has been such incredible support to keep the shared-use path in good, safe condition,” he added. “Also, much recognition goes towards the staff at Billy’s Rentals. Slinging bikes all day can be a tough job when you are outside in the heat, rain and humidity. We give a lot of credit to all the employees that have dedicated themselves to making our business run better. I appreciate all their hard-work and dedication.”

In the past 10 years, the Kirklands have never stopped giving back to the local community. Billy, a Kiwanian, is always volunteering his time and toys (trailers, trucks, tools, bikes, etc.) to the many non-profits, civic organizations and fellow business owners. He has also served as Board of Directors for the local Chamber of Commerce, is past president of Sanibel Fishing Club, a member of the Lee County Pedestrian Committee, a member of The Fourth of July Committee and currently serves as a board member for the Sanibel Recreation Department. Salli serves as president on the board for the Sanibel Community Association, which operates the Sanibel Community House on Periwinkle Way.

“We really care about the community we live in and, as business owners, we like to share in the responsibility of making it a better community for tomorrow.”