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Lily & Co. celebrates five years of rockin’ success

By Staff | Jul 8, 2011

Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery co-owners Dan Schuyler and Karen Bell are ready to celebrate a rockin’ five years of business with "spokesperson" Lily the Labradoodle and Labrador retrievers Gracie and Angel.

It has been a rockin’ five years for Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery. The unique jewelry store has earned national and international recognition for its marketing campaigns. Depicting a tall, curly brown-haired Labradoodle named Lily, the advertising world has gone to the dogs – at least this dog.

Within the first year of business, Lily & Co. was named Top Designer by Jewelers Circular Keystone, the industry’s leading trade publication. JCK has also rated Sanibel’s first jewelry gallery a 5-star business and has recognized it in the Top 10 jewelry stores in the nation for four consecutive years.

InStore Magazine named it “Top Dog” in June 2009 for the artistic Lily ad campaigns and America’s Coolest Store. By now the world knows what islanders already knew, Lily & Co. is “Best of the Islands,” a title it’s held for the past five years. It has become as much a destination on Sanibel as the island’s beautiful white beaches.

“It’s been above and beyond what we could have imagined,” said co-owner Dan Schuyler about celebrating Lily & Co.’s five-year anniversary.

This business fairytale began once upon a time when two friends, bonded by a passion for fine jewelry and canines, met for a cup of coffee. After Karen Bell, one of Southwest Florida’s most experienced realtors, procured a pair of exquisite diamond earrings from skilled jeweler Dan Schuyler, the two agreed to form a business partnership with the vision of opening their own neighborhood jewelry store offering couture jewelry and fine art under one roof.

In 2006, the vision was made a reality when the clever business duo purchased the historical building situated at 520 Tarpon Bay Road. The onetime Methodist church turned schoolhouse, art gallery, bank and podiatrist’s office is now home to Lily & Co. The bright, elegant décor, original light hardwood floors and an exterior reminiscent of Key West make it as much an island destination as Sanibel’s renowned white beaches.

“We wanted a non-intimidating store,” noted Dan.

Keeping grand old retail stores like Tiffany & Co. in mind, Karen and Dan thought Lily sounded just as prestigious. Named after Karen’s Labradoodle, Dan’s Labrador Retrievers, Angel and Gracie, make up the “& Co.” The dogs serve as official greeters to the “stars” – customers and other visitors. Gracie and Angel can be found in the store each day with Dan helping patrons find that perfect gift or item to spice-up any room in the house.

“We have items from $5 to $5,000,” said Dan. “We are also a full-service jeweler.”

The 44 display cases in the ever-expanding building offers a dazzling trip around the world with pieces made anywhere from America to Europe. Extraordinary jewelry by notable designers like Alexis Barbeau, Gurhan, James Breski and Steven Douglas fill the glass shelves. Classic timepieces by Rolex, Cartier and Chelsea Clocks are available, along with artwork by Alan C. Maltz, Eleanor Ward, Myra Roberts and Diane Fugit.

“We have a nice selection of men’s and kid’s jewelry,” added Dan about the endless possibilities at Lily & Co.

However, the store is not just about selling fine jewels, gems and art. Lily & Co. is also about giving back – to its community and to Mother Earth. As a “green store,” it sells and promotes items created from recycled materials. Case in point: Dave McDermont, who uses recycled glass and metals to create his wearable art. Lily & Co. events often have a charitable tie-in, most often benefiting the Animal Refuge Center in Fort Myers. It also lends its support to C.R.O.W. and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, among others.

“We feel it’s important to support the local community,” said Dan. “It’s our way of saying, ‘thank you’ to the residents and visitors that have supported us throughout these five years. We have a wonderful staff and feel totally blessed.”

Today, Lily & Co. has nine employees and seven “Lily mobiles” on the road. It has expanded twice, more than doubling its space. Co-owners Dan and Karen don’t know how much better it can get. To celebrate the store’s success, they have planned an anniversary celebration. During the “Lily Rocks” event from 11 am. to 6 p.m. July 16 at the store, there will be a free pig roast, hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream. Entertaining the crowd will be music by Debbie & The Dynamics. There will also be a bounce house, dunk tank, fire truck and dance floor. Segway rides will be available, along with lots raffles. In sticking with tradition, all proceeds from the event will benefit Friends Who Care. Stop by Lily & Co. and join Lily, Gracie, Angel, Dan and Karen, along with their staff, for a family picnic.

The stories behind co-owners of Lily & Co., according to lilyjewelers.com:

Dan has been a prominent fixture in the American jewelry industry for more than 27 years and has dealt with every aspect of the business – from sales and advertising to buying. His first foray into the industry was at the age of 19, when he worked as an engraver while attending college. His passion for the business developed as he rose through the ranks. During his education, Dan became a GIA diamond and pearl course graduate. He came to Southwest Florida in 2002 and worked with some of the region’s leading jewelry companies until he befriended longtime Sanibel-Captiva resident Karen Bell in 2006, who became his business partner.

Karen has been selling high-end island properties for more than 20 years. She is a leading businesswoman in the region and has become known as a great friend to both islands. She started her real estate company – Karen Bell Realty – on Captiva in 2001. She merged her company with VIP Realty Group in 2003, dominating 30 percent of the islands’ real estate market. She decided to undertake another entrepreneurial opportunity by partnering with Dan to open Lily & Co. In addition, she is an active member of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Community Housing and Resources and Friends that Care. This consummate professional and ambitious philanthropist plans to continue innovating Sanibel and Captiva for years to come.