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Bailey’s annual ornament features iconic Model AA Ford

By BAILEY'S - | Dec 9, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED A green Model AA Ford delivery truck is the Christmas ornament this year at Bailey's General Store.

For many island residents and visitors, there is a good chance that they have a Christmas ornament from Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel. Pat Kiely is looking forward to her 12th one this year.

“This year’s ornament is so cute,” she said.

Kiely is not just a collector. She dubs herself the “ornament lady” at the store.

“Pat works to design the ornament every year,” Calli Johnson, whose family has owned and operated Bailey’s for four generations, said.

The colorful, 23-karat gold-on-brass ornament is always designed to uniquely represent the store, which has served the islands since 1899. Only 500 ornaments are made every year.

“This year, it’s our green Model AA Ford delivery truck,” Kiely said. “The idea came from my boss, Bailie Johnson, and we all thought that was perfect. The truck was purchased by the current owners, and it has represented the store all over the island at weddings and parades. It’s like an ambassador.”

Kiely, who has been with Bailey’s since 2005, came up with the original idea of having an annual Christmas ornament in 2008.

“Francis Bailey, who was the company’s second-generation owner-operator, loved Christmas. He was a very giving and generous person,” she said. “He was so happy on Christmas, but he was skeptical about the ornament.”

In previous years, the ornament has been the original brass cash register — still on display at the store — The Island Store on Captiva, a shopping cart, a Model T Ford, the original store that was destroyed in a hurricane in 1926, and a clock that is on the store’s wall set to 6:13 to remember Francis Bailey.

“He died in 2013, and this has become like a tribute to him,” Kiely said. “We have so many who take home something from Bailey’s. I came up with the ornament because it’s much more permanent and is something you can hang up all year long. It always speaks Bailey’s to you.”

Her Bailey’s ornaments are organized by date and hung on her tree front and center.

“We’re all a family at Bailey’s,” she said. “On my Christmas tree, I have memories of my whole life.”

The ornament comes in a velveteen folder with “Bailey’s” written on it.

They can be purchased in-store for $15 or ordered over the phone by calling 239-472-1516.

Bailey’s General Store is at 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.