Pair of Chamber Ribbon Cuttings Mark More Reopenings On The Islands

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

On Tuesday, March 28, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce celebrated the partial reopening of the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village and, earlier, the Captiva branch of John R. Wood Christie’s International Real Estate, with ribbon-cutting ceremonies and fanfare.

“Another banner day,” exclaimed John Lai, chamber president and CEO. “Having one of the islands’ most important attractions make a comeback from some pretty serious destruction – that’s huge. Likewise, five feet of water couldn’t drown the spirit and energy of John R. Wood, and we applaud its pluck.”

John R. Wood Ribbon Cutting

At its 11499 Andy Rosse Lane branch, the John R. Wood office had undergone renovation and was just about to open before Hurricane Ian hit in September. Unphased by the setback, Suarez Estate Management & Construction started in again.

“They have completely remediated and remodeled that office,” said President and CEO Phil Wood.

“Their work and dedication to the process even had them driving to Virginia to pick up doors for our office and bringing them back.”

The chamber had celebrated the John R. Wood Sanibel branch reopening in a temporary RV on Feb. 14. Until the Captiva office was able to reopen, agents worked out of the Fort Myers office and kept clients updated through social media.

“The chamber’s commitment to help and promote and spread the word of the business opening has led huge community awareness for our offices,” said Wood. “They have gone the extra mile to support our business.”

“The Chamber has been a wonderful source of information throughout this Hurricane Ian ordeal and has enabled us to be part of the community while we’ve been so focused on the historical village,” Executive Director Emilie Alfino said. “The chamber has been very supportive, and we appreciate getting on their schedule for our reopening event.”

Damage to the 10 village structures ranged from minimal to physically shifting the Schoolhouse for White Children on its foundation. Shore Haven, Morning Glories, Caretakers’ Cottage, and Bailey General Store have reopened, but the historical village has no timeline for the repair of the rest of the historic buildings as assessment continues.

“We are pleased to reopen not just for ourselves, but as a sign to the community that life is going to get back to normal, and that the museum will live on and be accessible for everyone,” said Alfino, adding that generous donations have made recovery efforts possible. “The community has been very supportive to share in the celebration of Sanibel’s history.”

Current village hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with guided tours at 10:30. The suggested donation is $5 per person.

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. The Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. The chamber website receives more than 1.3 million website visits per year. For more information about the chamber, visit or contact John Lai, president and CEO, at 239-472-2348 or

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