SanCap Chamber ribbon-cuttings mark retail reopening, Shell Show kickoff

SanCap Chamber ribbon-cuttings continue to celebrate and broadcast the islands’ emergence from the destruction Hurricane Ian wreaked in September 2022. Most recently, the chamber cheered the reopening of iconic Her Sports Closet shop at Periwinkle Place shopping center, 2075 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel Island March 7; and opening day for the Sanibel Shell Show at Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort at the threshold to the Sanibel Causeway in Fort Myers March 8.
“The continued recovery of the islands’ retail segment has such a huge impact on our rebuild, and the return of landmark annual events puts the icing on the cake,” said John Lai, SanCap Chamber president and CEO. “Needless to say, these were two very joyful ribbon-cuttings. Watch for more momentous reopenings to come into April.”
Her Sports Closet owner Renae Durand opened her clothing boutique in 1983, evolving the previous golf-wear shop to more traditional lines.
“In 1993, when the Lilly Pulitzer line reappeared, I was one of the first accounts,” Durand said. “My sales rep was close to Lilly, so I had the opportunity to meet and visit with her several times. She was delightful, kind, charming, and fun, and put you immediately at ease.”
Shoulder-high flood waters meant the loss of nearly everything in Durand’s shop and an ensuing physical teardown to bare studs.
“Of course, no one predicted the amount of devastation to our island,” she said. “It’s been such a long road, I can’t really believe we’re able to reopen. I’m very excited to see the familiar faces of our fabulous customers!”
She credits landlord Ben Dahlmann, associate Cassidy Burns, and the chamber for getting her to this point.
“The chamber and John Lai have been a constant source of information and support, aiding in communication between businesses as well as with the city and other entities,” Durand said.
An 86-year tradition on Sanibel Island, the Sanibel Shell Show presented by the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club previously has been part of the Sanibel Shell Festival & Show at the Community House in partnership with the Shellcrafters. This year, because the Community House was unable to guarantee its reopening in time for the early March event, the shell club moved to the Marriott off-island for a two-day affair, March 8 and 9.
The event drew shell enthusiasts from all over the country and beyond with more than 300 artistic and scientific entries including Sailors’ Valentines, shell floral arrangements, shell tables and other creations, plus educational displays from around the world. Dr. Jose Leal, from the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum & Aquarium, and other conchology and malacology experts were on hand.
“All proceeds generated from the Sanibel Shell Show are poured right back into the community via the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club’s grants program,” said Linda Friedrich, publicity chair. Donations support local conservation and water-quality projects. To date, the club has awarded more than $400,000 to grant recipients. This year, the shell show also collected nonperishable food items for F.I.S.H. of SanCap.
“The chamber has been a huge promoter of the Sanibel Shell Show and has helped us promote the event via twice weekly eblasts, and on its social media outlets,” said Friedrich. “They also let us borrow their ‘selfie camera’ for visitors to use at the show, and that was a marquee event for 2024. We are grateful for their strong support.”
The SanCap Chamber is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. The Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. Its website,, receives over 1.3 million visits per year. For more information about the chamber, visit or contact John Lai, president and CEO, at 239-472-2348 or [email protected].