Author Barbee Talks Innovation with Sanibel Captiva Chamber Members

Author and businessman George E. L. Barbee spoke to members of The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce during the monthly luncheon hosted by Shell Point Retirement Community. Barbee has been teaching innovation for the past 15 years and presented a small portion of his latest book “63 Innovation Nuggets (For Aspiring Innovators).”

“I encourage you to try the art of observation,” said Barbee. “Once you take a moment to pause, you’ll see things that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

Barbee feels innovative ideas are well within anyone’s grasp if preconceived notions are dropped. In his 45-year business career, Barbee has led innovation with Fortune 100 companies, including Gillette, General Electric, PepsiCo, IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

He is one of the original Batten Fellow faculty members at top-ranked University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He received Darden’s highest alumni honor, the Charles C. Abbott Award, and has written numerous articles as well as made multiple appearances on NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, PBS and CNN.

“Discover your innovative side,” said Barbee. “You have more innovation than you give yourself credit.”

Discover Barbee’s book at MacIntosh Books and Paper, 2300 Palm Ridge Rd. It spent all of the 2015 season on the Island Top 10 Bestsellers List.

Island Vacations of Sanibel & Captiva sponsored the November luncheon and had a special give-a-way. The next business luncheon will be Tuesday, Dec. 13 at The Sanctuary Golf Club. Reservation are required and can be done by calling the Chamber at 239-472-1966 or visiting


Sanibel Captiva Chamber Dedicates Visitor’s Guide Cover to McCarthy

The Sanibel & Ccaptiva Islands Chamber of Commerce dedicated its 2017 Visitor’s Guide cover to the memory of Paul McCarthy, owner of Captiva Cruises and longtime Chamber member. The cover photo of Lady Chadwick, the Captiva Cruises flagship vessel, was unveiled Tuesday, Oct. 11 during the monthly business luncheon at the Captiva Island Yacht Club, where McCarthy was also a member.

“He left us with a rich and full legacy of stewardship and eco-tourism embodied in Captiva Cruises, whose goal will continue to respect and appreciate the natural beauty of Southwest Florida,” the Visitor’s Guide dedication states. “In 2013, the Chamber honored Paul as Business Person of the Year. He had a generous spirit, a zest for life and shared his laughter and passion with everyone who touched his life. Paul will be missed by all of us.”

McCarthy, a Boston native, passed away Aug. 24 at the age of 63. He practiced law in Chicago prior to discovering the tour boat business. He started Captiva Cruises in 1986 and made the island his full-time home in the early 1990s. McCarthy partnered with organizations like the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation to bring a high-quality environmental message to his Captiva Cruises passengers.

McCarthy’s family from Boston, along with Captiva Cruises staff members Jenny Rando and Brad Junghans, were in attendance for the unveiling. The Visitor’s Guide will be available late January and can be found at the Chamber Visitor’s Center, 1159 Causeway Rd. The Chamber distributes 125,000 copies of the Visitor’s Guide annually.


Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber Unites Supporters for Signing of Now or Neverglades Declaration

A crowd of more than 100 supporters gathered in front of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce Thursday, Aug. 4, to sign the Now or Neverglades Declaration. The waters of Southwest Florida are a national treasure that power the economy and shape our way of life.

“This is a very important issue to all of us,” said Daniel Andrews, of Captains for Clean Water, one of the guest speakers. “We all have a vested interested in the quality of our water and the Everglades.”

Andrews was joined by SCCF’s Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel and City of Sanibel’s Director of Natural Resources James Evans – two more champions of scientific solutions to the serious issues facing our waters and Everglades.

“We know what the impact is on our ecological resources,” said Evans. “We are learning what the impact is on our economy….It’s really time to start making decisions about the Everglades based on science, not politics.”

Scientific opinion is that increased storage and treatment of fresh water south of Lake Okeechobee, and additional flow from the lake southward, is essential to restoring the Everglades, Florida Bay and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Florida’s fishing, boating and tourism industries that depend on these estuaries are at risk, as well.

“It was gratifying to see such a varied group of supporters who are united in solving this very real problem,” said Chamber President Ric Base. “We appreciate everyone who took their time to come out and add their voice to this imperative cause.”

To join the more than 21,000 supporters who have signed the Now or Neverglades Declaration, visit

Now or Neverglades

Chamber Hosts June Business Lunch at the Dunes

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber Members Presented ‘The Highland Study’ at Luncheon

Barb Harrington of Hillgate Marketing Services presented The Highland Study commissioned by The Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau to members of Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce at the June business lunch.

Chamber Lunch June 2016

The Highland Study has become a tool for Lee County and its lodging partners to sustain, build market share and increase lodging revenue. Accommodation spending was up 8.3 percent to $2.1 billion or 70 percent of all tourism spending in 2015, according to the VCB. Direct visitor spending reached $3 billion in the same year, but the VCB says there is room for more tourism dollars.

“(By a show of hands) every business here is impacted by tourism,” Harrington said. “The market is changing. Are you able to keep up?”

The new guest is the Millennial, a market up 12.5 percent in 2015, and are known to review instantly – making first impressions important as ever. Lodging is either regularly improved or deteriorates rapidly. Reinvestment and renovation are crucial to remain competitive. Crisp, fresh, contemporary, clean and bright are the new keywords to look for in reviews.

“Regular updates to paint, linens, furnishings and décor will increase earning potential and renovated vacation rentals significantly increase annual revenue,” Harrington said. “We must ask ourselves how much money are we willing to leave on the table.”

To learn more about The Highland Study, visit

Members enjoyed lunch at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, one of those places in tune with its natural environment. The 18-hole championship golf course was masterfully designed by 10-time P.G.A. Tour winner and renowned course designer Mark McCumber. It sits within a stunning wildlife preserve sanctioned by the Audubon Society and was the view for the afternoon from the clubhouse.

Lunch sponsor A Better Bug Man introduced Nicole Williams of Application Dynamics, who spoke about mosquito control. Application Dynamics has been protecting families from mosquito-born diseases for more than three decades. It has developed a technology to fight mosquitoes, now offered by A Better Bug Man. For more information on mosquito control around your home, contact A Better Bug Man at 239-454-2847.

Sanibel & Captiva Chamber Hosts Ribbon Cutting for On Island

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting Wednesday, March 30 for new member On Island, a shop created by two locals Kate Sergeant and Dawn Hillman. The pair envisioned a shop which encompassed the feeling of being ‘on island.’

“It all began with our online locals guide (OnIslandSanCap),” Sergeant said. “We designed it to be a guide by locals for visitors with tips on how to enjoy the islands like a local. The idea grew from there.”

On Island will soon return to its roots with the launch of an online shop offering a selection of increasingly popular items from t-shirts and bags to cups and even the Tenya Turkish towels and robes. The shop carries shirts for all sizes, exclusive Sanibel-scented candles, Tervis tumblers, throw pillows and most of which bears Hillman’s delightful designs with words by Sergeant.

“Our customers have been the nicest people who are happy to share their ‘on island’ stories,” Sergeant and Hillman said. “They say, ‘You’ve really captured that feeling of being on island.’”

On Island, 630 Tarpon Bay Rd., will celebrate its 100th day of business May 18 by raffling off a brightly-colored bicycle designed by Hillman, who said it was perfect since biking is the Sanibel way. “(The bike) just makes me smile,” she said. Every $25 purchase qualifies as a raffle entry.

“We are delighted to have On Island join our business community,” Chamber Board of Directors Chair Mark Anderson said. “Owners Kate and Dawn have worked hard to capture that special feeling of being ‘on island’ and we wish them the best.”

Contact them at (239) 472-2214 or


OnIsland Ribbon Cutting

Sanibel & Captiva Chamber Welcomes The Clam Shack as New Member

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting to welcome new member The Clam Shack. The restaurant, which opened Sept. 21, 2015 in the former Greenhouse Grill space, serves up authentic New England-style seafood.

“Our lobster rolls have proven to be popular on the island,” said Chef Mark Thomas, who owns The Clam Shack with his wife Laurie.

The menu is a smaller version of its sister restaurant, the 10-year-old Clam Bake in south Fort Myers. “We chose the best from our Clam Bake menu and brought those items to Sanibel,” said Mark, a graduate of Johnson and Wales University with more than 30 years experience in the food industry.

The menu may be a smaller selection, but it includes Ipswitch clams, stuffed quahogs and two kinds of chowder. There is the more traditional New England-style chowder and the broth-based Rhode Island chowder Mark grew up with in West Warwick.

“Sanibel reminds me a lot of the town I grew up and lived in for many, many years,” said Mark. “We are happy to be here, feels like home.”

The Clam Shack’s 50 seats have been filled by locals and regular visitors looking for tastes of the north or something different on the island. “We have received amazing support from the community,” said Laurie. “Everyone has been so welcoming.”

“We also extend a warm welcome Mark, Laurie and their Clam Shack to our islands,” said Chamber President Ric Base. “We wish them continued success.”

Clam Shack Ribbon Cutting-Picture_resized


Sanibel, FL (Nov. 19, 2015) – The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the newly renovated Dunes Golf & Tennis Club.

As guests arrived at the clubhouse they were greeted by the tropical sound of steel drums, a scrumptious buffet of crab claws, fresh fruits and cheeses and an open bar where they were able to sample cocktail creations, beer and wine. Leilani Sivsov, General Manager, expressed her delight over the renovations. “No expense was spared. We love the new, upscale appearance of The Dunes. We can’t wait for our seasonal residents and winter guests to come and experience the new look.”

Ric Base, President of the Chamber of Commerce, added “The Chamber is excited to see the finished project at The Dunes. The Dunes continues to be a favorite destination for Chamber members and Island guests alike.”

The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club is open to the public and features an 18-hole championship golf course, masterfully designed by ten-time PGA Tour winner and world renowned golf course designer, Mark McCumber. It sits within a stunning wildlife preserve that has been officially endorsed by the Audubon Society. The Dunes also offers a tennis club, private rooms to host social events, a magnificent swimming pool and a beautiful open-air pavilion. Exceptional dining is now offered at the club where lunch is served daily from 11am – 3pm and dinner every Friday starting in December; as well as on select event nights from 6-9 pm.

For more information on The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club visit their website at or call 239-935-8267.

The Dunes reopening after their clubhouse renovation project

Chamber Hosts Ribbon Cutting To Welcome New Member Sanibel Sweet Shoppe

Sanibel, FL (Nov. 4, 2015)The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce held a Ribbon Cutting to welcome Sanibel Sweet Shoppe as a new member. The event was hosted at their store located at 2330 Palm Ridge Road, in Palm Ridge Plaza, on November 4th.

Beth and Tim Musser, owners of the Sanibel Sweet Shoppe, are on premise daily creating their handmade fudge, sweets and hand dipped Italian Ice. You’ll also find salt water taffy and molded chocolates in the shape of shells in their shiny glass cases that give the shop an old fashioned sweet shop feel. They will be baking special cookies and candies just in time for the holiday season this year.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the wonderful business community on Sanibel and Captiva and hope the island residents will stop in and enjoy our sweets!” said Sanibel Sweet Shoppe owner Beth Musser.

Ric Base, President of the Chamber of Commerce added, “The Chamber welcomes the Sanibel Sweet Shoppe to our islands and is pleased to have them join our family of successful businesses.”

For more information visit them at



South Seas Island Resort Sponsors Luminary Festival 2015

(Nov. 11, 2015) Sanibel, FL– The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce announced today that South Seas Island Resort has taken a gold sponsorship for this year’s Luminary Festival weekend. The 31st annual 2015 Luminary celebrations will take place Friday, December 4th on Sanibel and Saturday, December 5th on Captiva.

Bob Walter, Regional Managing Director for South Seas Island Resort and Inns of Sanibel stated, “The luminary festivities are an exclamation mark to another fantastic year for Sanibel and Captiva. We are thrilled to be a part of such a strong community and we thank the SanCap Chamber, its members, volunteers, and residents for their continued support.”

Luminary Festival is the one time of the year when the islands main streets are lined with illuminated candles. Businesses are decorated with festive trimmings and the landscape is decorated with lights. Island visitors and local residents can enjoy these two magical nights as they stroll the streets and participate in the beginning of the holiday season, island style.

Visitors and residents are invited to mark their calendars for this very special occasion.



Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts becomes Luminary 2015 Gold Sponsor

(Nov. 2, 2015) Sanibel, FL – Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has taken a gold sponsorship for this year’s Luminary Festival Weekend. The 31st annual 2015 Luminary celebrations will take place Friday, December 4th on Sanibel and Saturday, December 5th on Captiva.

“We are pleased to be able to support the Luminary festival again this year,” said Jeff Shuff, Chief Financial Officer of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, owners of ‘Tween Waters Inn, West Wind Inn, Beachview Cottages and Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages. “It is a great time of year on the islands and the Luminary festival on Sanibel and Captiva is the perfect way for the community to enjoy the official kick off to the holiday season.”

During the Luminary celebrations the main streets are lined with illuminated candles, businesses are decorated with festive trimmings and trees and landscaping twinkle with holiday lights. Sanibel and Captiva visitors and local residents can enjoy these two magical nights on our islands.

“’Tween Waters Inn is known for their legendary holiday décor, and this year with their new acquisition on Sanibel, they truly represent both islands. We are excited to see what they have in store for us at this year’s Luminary festival. We appreciate their continued support.” said Ric Base, President of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce.


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