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Lily’s to sponsor community Holiday Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 28

By Staff | Nov 27, 2009

When people have something to celebrate, they tend get a bottle of champagne and clink some glasses of bubbly.

But not if you are Dan Schuyler and Karen Bell.

Not that the two business partners don’t believe in toasting to good fortune and success. They just prefer to share their bliss with the entire community.

It is in this tradition of goodwill that Schuyler and Bell, co-owners of Lily & Co. Jewelers, have decided to put on a Holiday Celebration for the island community on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Lily & Co. will celebrate its third anniversary with an Island Appreciation event and the grand opening of the store’s new wing.

The event will feature food, wine, art and musical entertainment by Andre and Soli. Valet parking will be provided. Free dance lessons by the Fred Astaire Dance School will be available as well, Schuyler said.

Guests are also invited to enter a special drawing to win an item of jewelry valued at $2,000. Tickets are $1 for one or $5 for six and will be available in advance. Guests are requested to bring an unwrapped gift appropriate for a child. Drawing proceeds and gifts will benefit Friends Who Care.

“This is a celebration,” Schuyler said. “We want people to have fun, relax.”

Three years ago, Bell, a Sanibel-Captiva Realtor, and Schuyler, a jeweler with 28 years of experience, opened the doors to Lily & Co. Jewelers, at 520 Tarpon Bay Road on Sanibel.

Schuyler and Bell brought with them the store’s mascots and greeters Lily, a Labradoodle, owned by Bell and Gracie and Angel, two frolicking yellow labs belonging to Schuyler. The pooches have helped shape Lily’s into a friendly award-winning jewelry store that gets packed with customers.

Their success over the past three years have led two expansions, the latest being an entire wing.

The new wing to be celebrated at the event now gives the store 3,000 square feet to operate with, Schuyler said. Within the new space are more showcases and wall units. The additional space allows Lily’s to carry high end designer men’s rings – some even made with dinosaur bones, hand-blown glass and sailor’s valentines.

Some history about the building

This is the second Lily’s has expanded since opening in 2006.

Lily’s store is considered an historic building. It is listed on the National Historic Registry, said Sanibel Historical Museum and Village President Alex Werner.

Lily’s store is the former Schoolhouse for Colored Children, Werner said.

And before that the building used to house the island’s first Baptist Church in the early 1900’s. The Baptist Church sold the building to the Lee County School District to be used for black American children when their sharecropper families moved to Sanibel. The Sanibel Historical Museum will use a grant to place signs denoting the former Schoolhouse for Colored Children in the near future, Werner said.

So Schuyler and Bell are elated to have received the blessing from the city and island patriarch Sam Bailey of the Historical Preservation Committee to build the new wing.

Schuyler and Bell work to preserve their shop’s rich history.

At one time, the building once floated after the hurricane of 1926 blew through the islands. The building sits an angle instead of facing the street, Schuyler said. He also noted pulleys in the building’s attic. The pulleys were once used to pull bells in an earlier part of the building’s existence.

“I love the history about our building,” Schuyler said.

Aside from being The Schoolhouse for Colored Children and a Baptist Church, the building used to be the Towers Gallery, a bank and – more recently – an orthopedic shoe store before becoming Lily’s, Werner said. A vault was constructed in the building along with a drive-through window for the bank. The drive-through window was removed about a month ago.

Business sparkles through gloomy economy

Through an unstable economy over the past couple of years, the island jewelers not only survived but thrived.

“We are just in awe,” Schuyler said. “I don’t know how to put it in words. We

have been blessed from the folks on Sanibel and Captiva.”

Schuyler attributes their success to the comfy feel of the store and its staff along with a supportive community.

Over the past few years, customers have come to Lily’s to look for engagement rings, blingy mementos of time well spent on the islands and special remembrances. One customer, Carolyn McClaine ordered a custom-made more-than $30,000 ring in loving memory of her four rescue dogs.

“It really has been built by the people of Captiva and Sanibel,” he said. “It’s their store.”

Leading community supporter

Aside from being a treasured jewelry shop, Lily’s has served the community by hosting fundraisers for many of the local charities and non-profit organizations.

“We can support the people in need through our store,” Schuyler said. “That

continues to be our vision.”

Throughout the year, Lily’s sponsors community events and parties that benefit that always benefit someone in need. Residents and visitors tend to be eager to head over to the events which can involve anything from dogs, Elvis

impersonators, Easter rabbits, hidden diamonds and dunk tanks.

Meet designers, check out couture jewelry

Aside from the fun and games at the celebration, guests will have an opportunity to meet with some of the designers that create the artisan jewelry at Lily’s.

World-renowned couture jewelry designers Charles Krypell and Lecil Henderson will be at the event.

A native New Yorker, first generation jewelry designer Charles Krypell majored in sculpture, which can be seen in the jewelry he designs today. He creates one-of-a-kind colored diamond pieces and boasts a sterling collection.

Lily & Co. is a full-service jeweler, offering services from jewelry repair and

restoration, watch repair and battery replacement, engraving services, bead and pearl re-stringing, pewter and holloware repair as well as appraisal services.

Lily & Co.’s P3 – or Positively Precious Program – enables them to purchase previously worn jewelry, stones, and fine stemware from customers for liquidation purposes.

Store hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about Lily & Co., call 472-2888 or visit www.lilyjewelers.com.

During a candid moment, Schuyler and Bell chuckled and shook their head about their jewelry business which has turned into a community hub filled with Elvis impersonators, diamond-filled Easter egg hunts and of course

tail-wagging pooches that greet customers.

“We’ve done so much in a short amount of time,” Schuyler said. “And it’s been fun.”

(Press reports contributed to this story.)