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First phase of Island Store construction nearly done

By Staff | May 5, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Construction on the Island Store is moving along.

The Island Store renovations are moving along as the work outside is nearing completion.

Calli Johnson, whose family owns Bailey’s General Store, which operates the Captiva business, reported on April 30 that much of the exterior is finished, with all of the structural work complete. The interior work is the next phase, so they met recently with the plumbing and electric contractors.

“We have hit our stride with the construction on this project,” she said. “Customers will see less work outside of the building as that phase finishes.”

Last week, the siding on the outside of the building was being installed.

“Plumbing and electric are going in soon,” Johnson said. “After that, we will work on HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and drywall.”

TIFFANY REPECKI A view of the Island Store a few ago before the siding went up.

Bailey’s anticipates reopening the business late this year.

“We plan to reopen as soon as the building is complete and there is product on the shelves,” she said.

With coordinated help from RLR Investments – the building’s owner – and the Lee County Historic Preservation Board, Bailey’s has been working to rebuild and renovate the exterior and interior of the store. At the end of 2018, Bailey’s bought the rights to the business from its former operator and signed a new lease with RLR Investments. The store reopened for a period before closing for the renovations.

Toward the start of the project, there were some unexpected structural issues.

“After the contractors found significant deterioration of the building’s structural components during demolition, structural engineers were called in to assess the damage and draft plans to ensure the structural integrity of the building,” Johnson reported in mid-January. “With the plans in place, the contractors are back at work and diligently following the engineer’s expert specifications.”

TIFFANY REPECKI The Island Store prior to the start of the project.

Bailey’s has encountered no other substantial hiccups.

“No major unplanned surprises since then,” she said last week.

At two Captiva Community Panel meetings last year – in January and June – Bailey’s held community presentations. They explained that the project would entail renovating the store’s interior and exterior, while maintaining Captiva’s architectural standards for historic buildings like it.

Registered as a historic site and building, it once even served as a boarding school.

At the CCP meetings, Bailey’s also explained that the planned project would retain the building’s “look,” but use modern materials so it is built to last longer. The store’s footprint will stay the same.

Last week, Johnson reported that some functional changes to the plan have been considered.

“We are entertaining unique ways to increase our ability to serve our customers, such as bicycle parking on the side of the building,” she said. “We are maximizing shelf space inside by reducing previously planned storage space, so we can better serve our customers.”

During the project, Bailey’s has been offering island-wide delivery from its Sanibel business.

“Our Captiva delivery service is going extremely well,” Johnson said.

In the latter half of March, they were completing roughly 70 online orders, so Bailey’s had the opportunity to streamline its procedures so customers could expect the same top-notch service they receive in the store from the delivery team.

“Up to half of our orders each day go to Captiva, so the word is out,” she said.

“I think the residents enjoy being able to spend time doing things other than grocery shopping, which can be tedious for some folks,” Johnson added. “There are people with large families staying up there, so I am sure it is a huge help to be able to have everything delivered.”

Bailey’s has thanked the community for its patience throughout the renovation project.

“We are excited to reopen and look forward to welcoming our guests into our new space,” she said.

The Island Store is at 1500 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva.