provided to The Santiva Chronicle
The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce celebrated the long-anticipated reopening of the historic Island Store Thursday, Dec. 10 on Captiva. The Bailey family, owners of Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel Island, reopened the store in October 2020 after purchasing it in 2018 and gutting and restoring it.
“The store was completely renovated to current safety and quality standards while maintaining a historic look and feel of the store,” said Calli Johnson, fourth-generation owner-operator. “We are excited to expand our fresh produce, with plans to add hot soup and sandwiches soon. Guests will notice the liquor store has moved from one side of the store to the other, and we now have the only beer cave on Captiva.”
Built circa 1915, the historic building has known many lives – from a beauty parlor and boarding house to a restaurant and, in 1940, a grocery store under the ownership of Jay “Ding” Darling, namesake of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.
“It is our pleasure to serve Captiva residents and guests daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at The Island Store,” said Johnson. “Our mom’s mother’s family originally owned Jensen’s resort before it was ‘Jensen’s,’ so it makes perfect sense that the Bailey family is returning to Captiva. We are excited the project is completed and we have this beautiful new building where we can get back to what we know best: groceries and customer service.”
She added that the store currently employs four and will be hiring additional staff.
“It’s so great to have The Island Store open again, and we warmly welcome it back into the fold,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive office. “What better people to bring it back to life than the Baileys!”
“The SanCap Chamber is incredibly important to our business and our community,” said Johnson, who serves as secretary-treasurer for the chamber’s board of directors. “Most importantly, their team advocates for our community as a whole. I know John and his team have our back when it comes to politics that affect our islands.”