by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
Bailey’s General Store, the anchor of Bailey’s Shopping Center on the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road, is among the island businesses damaged by Hurricane Ian. The shopping center was inundated with about 10 feet of water from the storm surge.
Bailey’s General Store before Hurricane Ian struck last month and inundated it with 10 feet of water. It’s unknown when the store will reopen. SC file photo by Shannen hayes
Calli Johnson, whose family founded Bailey’s General Store more than a century ago, said the aisles are filled with product which floated off shelves and the cold-case displays, along with the coffee bar, were displaced. “And a lot of things are covered in mold,” she said.
The flat roof of the grocery store held nearly 500 hurricane-rated solar panels, most of which stayed in place.
A major renovation project had commenced earlier this year at the shopping center. It marked the first substantial changes to the center in nearly 40 years. “It will be quicker for us to stay closed and renovate,” said Johnson. “We are unsure of when we will reopen.”
The family is working with Benchmark General Contractors, who were hired for the initial renovation project, to clean up the debris and work towards reopening the store. In the meantime, the parking lot is being used by LCEC trucks as a staging area.
The Bailey’s Shopping Center parking lot is a staging area for LCEC utility trucks as they work to restore power on the islands. SC photo by Shannen Hayes
“We are proud to share the space while we are not using it,” said Johnson.
And she shared a bit of good news – The Island Store on Captiva, operated by the Johnson family, received less damage from the storm and will reopen a little sooner than the Sanibel store. But there is work to be done for that to happen. The floors were damaged and a new office will need to be set up for business to resume.
“We are estimating to have the Captiva store open in the next few months,” said Johnson.