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The Island Store reopens, welcomes back community

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Oct 13, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED The Island Store reopened its doors to shoppers on Oct. 5.

Following a year’s worth of renovations, The Island Store is once again open to shoppers.

The grocery and delicatessen shop reopened its doors to the public on Oct. 5.

“We were able to open ahead of schedule on Monday,” Calli Johnson, whose family owns Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel and operates the Captiva store, said last week.

In early August, the interior renovations had been completed — the walls were up, and the interior plumbing, electrical and such installed. The next steps were the flooring and the installation of coolers and shelving, followed by the final décor and finishing the landscaping and new paver parking lot.

“That is all complete,” she said on Oct. 7.

PHOTO PROVIDED Calli Johnson

In late September, they received their certificate of occupancy and started stocking shelves.

While still waiting on some products, they decided to open with a limited selection.

“We have most of the basic non-perishable products: wine, beer, essentials, medicines, souvenirs, drinks, cheeses, grab-and-go breakfast and sandwiches,” Johnson said. “We are waiting on orders of perishable items, like produce and meats, to arrive within the next week.”

“In the future, we will offer hot deli products, but still working that out,” she added.

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 shop reopened for a period before closing for the renovations.

PHOTO PROVIDED The Island Store reopened its doors to shoppers on Oct. 5.

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 earlier in January. “With the plans in place, the contractors are back at work and diligently following the engineer’s expert specifications.”

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 shop’s interior and exterior, while maintaining Captiva’s architectural standards for historic buildings like it.

Registered as a historic site and building, it once 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 noted that they are working on plans to celebrate the shop’s opening.

“We look forward to a grand reopening some time later this year,” she said.

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

Johnson reported that they are continuing to offer the service.

Bailey’s has thanked islanders and visitors for their patience throughout the project.

“We are excited to welcome the community back to The Island Store,” she said. “Please say hello to our returning manager, Eric, on your next visit.”

The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“We will likely expand hours in-season,” Johnson said.

For more information or questions, call 239-312-4374. People can also contact store Manager Eric Dampier at edampier@baileys-sanibel.com or Calli Johnson at cjohnson@baileys-sanibel.com.

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