The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated three post-hurricane business reopenings with ribbon-cutting celebrations. On Tuesday, Jan. 10, Sea Oats Day Spa held its ribbon cutting at 1149 Periwinkle Way and Royal Shell at 1547 Periwinkle Way. Captiva Cruises celebrated on Thursday, Jan. 12, at McCarthy’s Marina.
“We could all use a massage and a relaxing day on the water right now,” said John Lai, chamber president and CEO. “We welcome these opportunities back to the island business landscape. Congratulations and thanks to all involved.”
Owner Logan Tennant had newly opened Sea Oats Day Spa on Aug. 25 with seven other staffers, about a month before Hurricane Ian slammed the islands. Fortunately, the spa’s elevated venue left it mostly high and dry. By Nov. 22, Tennant, who has worked as a massage therapist and nail technician/esthetician on Sanibel for nearly 14 years, was offering massage and nail services to island clientele.
“I want Sea Oats to be a big part of the community,” said Tennant. “I thought hopefully it would bring some normalcy back to the people who were here, that it would help heal the island.”
She credits the positivity of the community and help from the chamber for giving her the motivation and confidence to reopen her first business endeavor, where she keeps treatments eco-friendly, such as her soak-less pedicures that save 7,000 gallons of water a month and are more sanitary than conventional pedicures.
“Aaron at the chamber was so helpful, answering all my questions and getting back to me so quickly, helping me to set up the ribbon-cutting, explaining how to sign up to be a member of the chamber. He was very patient with all the questions I had, I can only imagine how swamped he’s been,” said Tennant. She plans to organize shopping, lunch, and spa days to support other island businesses.
Royal Shell, which celebrated its Captiva Island office reopening on Dec. 13, was waiting for power to be restored to the Sanibel office for its ribbon cutting.
“We wish Logan all the luck in the world and thank her for the positivity she brings to recovery efforts; Her enthusiasm is infectious,” said Lai. “Royal Shell has been helping out islanders on both Sanibel and Captiva since the causeway opened, and we’re happy to make their Sanibel reopening official.”
Captiva Cruises opened late last month with limited tours to serve local residents, passholders, and paid guests at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort. With the causeway fully open on Jan. 2, operations have expanded using two of the boats Captiva Cruises had moved inland before the storm. The 49-passenger power catamarans Santiva and Playtime will be doing dolphin sightseeing cruises and luncheon excursions to Cabbage Key.
The team also moved the Lady Chadwick offsite for the storm, to a Fort Myers Beach boatyard for its annual inspection and maintenance. Storm surge delivered some damage to the boat, but it is expected to be repaired and back in service in coming months. The tour company also suffered significant damage to its docks and property.
“Our awesome crew has been helping with all the recovery efforts,” said co-owner Brad Junghans, who offered attendees at the ribbon cutting a free cruise following it. “Before we opened for business, we brought disaster crews from Cape Coral to South Seas Island. While we are happy to back up and running, there is still lots of work to be done.”
“I think everyone appreciates seeing the return of what the islands are known for – opportunities to get out on the water,” said Lai. “I applaud Captiva Cruises for steering the islands’ comeback in a positive direction.”
“The Chamber has done an excellent job of communicating to the members of the various programs and resources available to aid the recovery process,” said Junghans.
ABOUT SANIBEL & CAPTIVA ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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. With over 560 active Chamber members from both islands including businesses from Lee and Collier counties, 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 Francis P. Bailey, Jr. Chamber Visitor Center is located at the entrance to Sanibel Island and welcomes over 160,000 visitors each year. VISIT FLORIDA named the Visitor Center one of thirteen official Florida Certified Tourism Information Centers. The Visitor Center is open 365 days a year and provides visitors with comprehensive information about things to do, places to visit, where to stay, shop and dine. The Chamber website http://sanibel-captiva.org receives over 1.3 million website visits per year.