Bailey’s Will Be Rebuilt More Resilient Post Ian

by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes

The Johnson Family, third and fourth generation owners of Bailey’s General Store and shopping center, this week confirmed they will build back more resilient after Hurricane Ian inundated the on-the-ground plaza with storm surge and roof damage contributed to more destruction from wind-driven rain.

Bailey’s General Store, at the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road, will be built back more resilient after it was extensively damaged by Hurricane Ian. SC file photo

But this is not the first, second or third hurricane Bailey’s has weathered in its more than a century of doing business on Sanibel Island. It was established by Frank P. Bailey in 1899 as the Sanibel Packing Company on Matthew’s wharf at the end of today’s Bailey Road.

After it was destroyed in the 1920s by a hurricane, Bailey rebuilt next to the San Carlos Bay instead of over it.

Throughout 123 years of continuous operation, the family has learned about resiliency and, after the destruction by Ian, they want to ensure the Bailey’s we know and love will endure for future generations to cherish. That means building the shopping center up.

“As our family looks to the future, we want to ensure resiliency for the next generation of visitors and residents on the islands,” said Calli Johnson, a fourth-generation owner. “This entails demolishing the current retail properties and rebuilding an elevated shopping center.”

The center was undergoing its first major renovation in more than two decades before the storm. “While it is immensely emotional for our family and community to say ‘goodbye’ to the buildings, the heart of Bailey’s lies with those who know and love it,” said Calli.

“The charm and southern hospitality that warms the soul when you walk through the doors will return with your next visit to Bailey’s,” she said.

Under the helm of second-generation owners Francis and Sam Bailey, the general store moved to its current location at the west end of Periwinkle Way, when it outgrew the Bailey Road location. It has become more than a place to shop, but a place for the community to gather and count on in a time of need.

The Island Store on Captiva, operated by Bailey’s, is open and offering groceries, lunch and snacks. SC file photo

The Bailey’s family finds purpose and takes pride in providing that sense of security to the community. While Ian made it impossible for Bailey’s to be a gathering place in this time of uncertainty, residents and visitors can take solace in its return as a more resilient Bailey’s.

While plans on Sanibel are underway, focus is on The Island Store on Captiva, operated by Bailey’s, where shoppers can find groceries, lunch and snacks. Staff is working to pivot the offerings to best suit the post-storm needs of the community.

Bailey’s has also launched an online store, where a piece of history is ready to be shipped. Stock of the classic Bailey’s Christmas ornaments were saved from the water-logged store and are available for purchase. Hats, shirts, mugs and bags were also salvaged.

“These items survived the storm at Bailey’s above the high water line in storage,” explained Calli. “So our customers will have their very own Hurricane Ian authentic souvenir.”

Intensive renovations of the Bailey’s Center will commence once the insurance evaluation is completed.

Comments (11)

  1. Thank you all for keeping us informed and for rebuilding!💕

  2. The Johnson family and Bailey’s will be back stronger than ever!

  3. God bless you in your rebuilding efforts!

  4. I’ve a Baileys customer since 1975, sometimes as a visitor and for 10 years as a resident…when I return to visit, no trip is complete without shopping at Bailey’s. I fondly remember Jack, in the meat and fish departments…he told me how to cook my first turkey, “ get one of those automatic turkeys! When it’s done the button pops up “. He also taught me how to distinguish real Gulf shrimp from other varieties. I always enjoyed seeing Mr. Bailey and attending BaileyFest. I look forward to visiting the new store when it’s ready. Love to all.

  5. What will happen to the stores that rented from Baileys,

  6. What will happen to the shops that were in the plaza?

  7. A heartfelt appreciation to the Bailey-Johnson family who for over a century have demonstrated their steadfast commitment to our beautiful island paradise even in the face of repeated powerful and awe inspiring visits by Mother Nature. Their strong spirit of perseverance even in the face of predictable and certain future adversity is an enduring and daily inspiration. May God forever bless them as through them we are in turn blessed.

  8. Thank you for bringing back Bailey’s stronger than ever. Our family has owned a home on Sanibel for 45 years and look forward to returning when our home is repaired.

  9. Great news for Island residents. Bailey’s is an important part of the Islands’ fiber and community.

  10. Beth Williamson Gumienny

    Baileys is such an important part of what Sanibel is…I have been coming to Sanibel my whole life…pre causeway and my Parents lived there for 35 years, had a business there, my Mom worked at the Captiva PO and our family gave an original map of “Sanybel”dating back to the 1700’s to the City of Sanibel…I hope it survived! All this to say, Bailey’s has always been there and it is so good to know that they will STILL be there!!!! The actual building doesn’t matter, it’s what’s in the heart that matters….and Bailey’s is a huge part of the heart of Sanibel!!!!

  11. We are rooting for you Bailey’s family- can’t imagine Sanibel without you! Thanks for your commitment to continue. God bless!

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