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The Sanibel Spirit

Billy’s Rentals

Tarpon Bay Explorers

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille

The Sanibel School


We’re now at the five-month anniversary mark of Hurricane Ian and one adage rings loud and clear:  “It’s not about the buildings, it’s about the people.”

Despite the heartbreaking devastation of the storm, an amazing spirit of togetherness has emerged.

Everyone is working hard to rebuild.  The “Sanibel Spirit” is indeed alive, strong and resilient, and remarkable signs of recovery continue throughout our “repairadise.”

More island businesses are re-opening every week.  Just within the past two weeks, we’ve seen Billy’s Rentals and Tarpon Bay Explorers reopen, along with Doc Ford’s, Timbers and the Great White Grill.  They join the growing list of businesses now back in operation.

In a huge milestone, The Sanibel School welcomed back students and teachers who had been previously gathering at a school close to an hour away.  As the principal said, “It’s not pretty, but it’s safe,” referring to numerous criteria that had to be met to reopen, including reliable power, drinking water, air conditioning, functioning fire alarms, and safe indoor air quality, among others.  More restoration work will be done after hours and over weekends, and the hope is to have the school looking more like its former self by late summer.

Along those lines, another much-anticipated milestone has been the return of the U.S. Postal Service to the island.  Residents no longer need to travel close to an hour away (in a different direction from the temporary school) to pick up daily mail, so this “special delivery” has been a herculean effort in its own right.  The new USPS trailer comes with the bonus of having all of our island postal staff return — We’ve missed them!

At Ocean’s Reach, we’re also working hard to welcome you back as soon as we can.  Project managers have been hired and insurance claims have been filed.  We are putting the finishing touches on our initial rebuild schedule and as soon as permitting is approved, we’ll be able to better determine a timeline as to when Ocean’s Reach will be able to reopen.

“It’s not about the buildings, it’s about the people.”  So many are working so hard to rebuild our beloved island.  We’re still a little rough around the edges right now, but we will be back.

To end this update, we wanted to share a video from local artist (and former news anchor) Rachel Pierce.  She had the wonderful idea to open a pop-up Outdoor Market, where she invites an assortment of island stores and non profits to join her Mon – Sat from 10am – 2pm as she rebuilds her gallery at 1571 Periwinkle Way.  Click here to view.

She writes: “This is what progress, hope, help, love and Sanibel looks like.  We are blessed.”

(For an extra special treat from Rachel, click here!)



3 thoughts on “The Sanibel Spirit

  1. So happy to hear things are progressing on the island and at Ocean’s Reach, We can’t wait until we can visit there again, especially since we recently had 14 inches of snow here in White Bear Lake MN!!! Take Care. You continue to be in our prayers and thoughts.
    Kathy and Kurt Kaiser

  2. My wife and I have been coming to Sanibel and staying at Ocean’s Reach since your rebuild after hurricane Charlie. We miss it so much and can’t wait for it to re-open so we can book and come back to Sanibel. Best wishes to all the staff hoping to see you soon.

  3. We are so thankful for your updates, we can’t wait to get back to Ocean’sreach sure did miss now being able to come in Nov. Stay safe & prayers are with all of you.
    Fred & Colleen

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