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Sanibel Island store stands the test of time

Posted at 12:59 AM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 00:59:12-05

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. — If you want to take a trip back in time, before the days of COVID-19, before a man landed on the moon, and before world war I, just visit Bailey's General Store on Sanibel Island.

In 1899, Frank Bailey opened a shop to serve the small farming community.

"There was a real demand for a mercantile or a general store on the island. So as you come across the causeway if you look to your right, that's the site of the old Bailey’s store on the bay," says Richard Johnson, 3rd generation owner of Bailey’s General Store.

Ever since that day, the community has depended on Bailey’s to grab whatever they needed.

"He brought in milk, eggs, flour, sugar, coffee, farm implements," says Johnson. "You could even buy a mule through Bailey’s General Store back in the day!"

The store has stood the test of time no matter what life’s thrown its way

"You know we went through some hard times over the last 121 years. We had the Great Depression, we had world war two, and we’ve had a variety of hurricanes. The 1926 hurricane actually blew away the store! Literally, the entire store was gone," says Johnson.

Johnson and his wife are the third generation to run the grocery store and they stick to their strong family traditions. Which includes designing a special ornament to celebrate the Christmas season that represents the rich history of the island.

"Each year we develop a Christmas ornament because Christmas was very special to my father in law," says Johnson. "And this year’s ornament, 2020, is year that everyone’s going to remember. Hopefully, they’ll remember it because of the 1930 model aa ford truck ornament."

The ornaments are hand-crafted collectors items and only a few are left for sale at their store on Sanibel.

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