As SanCap Chamber president and chief executive officer, I wish to formally and profoundly thank St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church on Sanibel Island for its concerted mission to spotlight the business community of Sanibel and Captiva islands with its groundbreaking Love Sanibel Businesses Back program. By scheduling a calendar of opportunities to patronize local businesses and organizations through August, it shows heart for continued recovery from Hurricane Ian’s major economic setback. It also encourages residents and visitors to develop and maintain the habit of supporting local, small businesses at every opportunity on an ongoing basis – all day, every day.


I fully applaud and support the spirit of community St. Michael pushes to the forefront with this initiative. The schedule urges members of the greater island community to visit dozens of retailers, restaurants, service professionals, and nonprofits throughout the summer. The calendar of days specified for different island locales is not necessarily meant to limit patronage to certain dates or businesses/organizations, but to raise awareness and create a mindset to “think local first.”


I, too, urge residents to first consider shopping, dining, playing, and staying on-island when in the market for products, services, and leisure activities. Encourage visiting friends and families to do the same. Our friends from surrounding communities who come to spend time at our newly replenished beaches, too, can help make sure the infrastructure for their sandy playgrounds remains strong by supporting the communities that support our beaches and the attractions that complement them.


Once again, I thank St. Michael for its forethought and time in setting Love Sanibel Businesses Back into motion as a continual way-of-life. I thank, too, all those devoted island-lovers who have been doing exactly what the initiative intends by buying that book or Father’s Day present, planning date-night dinner, taking the family on a day outing – doing all that right here where we live and work. By supporting one another, we assure the special island lifestyle will continue to return, strengthen, and flourish. Keep bringing on the love!



John Lai


John Lai has served as president and chief executive officer for SanCap Chamber since 2017. He has worked within the island tourism industry since 1995. Lai has led the islands’ post-Ian recovery through a number of chamber initiatives including the free Wander Map app, ribbon-cuttings as businesses and organizations reopen, Restaurant Round Tables, legislative and gubernatorial advocacy, clean water support, and continued and heightened networking opportunities.