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Times of the Islands Magazine

Bailey's General Store Releases Plans to Rebuild After Ian

Jan 10, 2023 08:00AM ● By Francesca Block

Photo courtesy of Bailey's General Store on Facebook

Hurricane Ian may have left the building of Bailey's General Store damaged and in disrepair, but the spirit of the beloved family-owned business remains strong and determined. 

For over 100 years, Bailey's General Store has provided essential goods to Sanibel families with a distinct island flair. During the height of Hurricane Ian's storm surge, the store experienced flooding up to the very top shelf, fourth-generation store owner Callie Johnson told TOTI Media. She also said the over 100 mph winds caused serious damage to the roof, though the solar panels remained relatively unharmed. 

As the water receded inside the building, many of the beloved general store's products were left displaced, damp and beginning to mold,  Johnson told the Sanibel-Captiva Chronicle in late-October

But just three months later, the family-owned business has announced plans to rebuild "with a focus on sustainability and improved offerings to our guests," according to the store's website

And after 123 years of running the store — which was first founded in 1899 as the Sanibel Packing Company by Frank P. Bailey — Johnson said her family knows a thing or two about resilience. 

The store has survived more than three hurricanes during its decades in business, according to the Sanibel-Captiva Island Reporter. The original business operated as a packing and shipping company at Matthews’ wharf, until a hurricane in the 1920s washed it away, prompting the owners to rebuild at San Carlos Bay, the Island Reporter wrote. Lead by its second generation of leaders, the store relocated to its current located at 2477 Periwinkle Way, and expanded its offerings to become an island staple for groceries and home necessities. 

This connection and history with the island is what inspires Johnson and her family to rebuild, even though many hurdles lay ahead. 

"We became the heart of the islands and continue that role to this day with our customer service and quality products as a full service grocery and hardware store," she said. 

The store's owners have launched an online store as they work to rebuild Bailey's physical space. 

The online store offers a range of Bailey's products, from Bailey's-themed clothing and accessories to the businesses' signature holiday ornaments collection. The new Christmas ornament designed for 2022 featured a vintage-styled business card for the original Sanibel Packing Company owners. 

"The online store is a way for us to ensure our customers can still enjoy a small piece of Bailey’s while they are unable to visit," Johnson said. 

According to their website, the store features products that the team at Bailey's was able to rescue after the storm. In the future, Johnson said the store plans to expand its online inventory to include some of Bailey's signature items, including their coffee bar beans. 

At the heart of their efforts, Johnson said, is their loyal customers and families who have supported their business for over a century. 

"We will welcome everyone back with the same charm as always when our doors open again," Johnson said.

The Johnson family also runs the The Island Store, located at 11500 Andy Rosse Lane on Captiva, which is currently open for business and offering visitors "a small sense of normalcy," the company wrote to the Island Reporter. The store, which offers groceries, souvenirs and other essential goods, celebrated its reopening on Dec. 1 with a wine tasting event.

To shop the online store, you can visit