The First Ever Chico's Store is Back in Business on Sanibel

The First Ever Chico's Store is Back in Business on SanibelSanibel is an island full of many treasures. Some of them are more hidden than others. There are several interesting and somewhat little-known facts about Sanibel. One of them is that Sanibel is home to the first-ever Chico's store. 

Chico's is a national clothing chain featuring women's clothing. The store is a popular national retailer that started as just one shop on little Sanibel Island in 1983. The store took on significant damage a little over a year ago during Hurricane Ian. The store has undergone a major renovation and is open once again at the Periwinkle Place shopping center. The store opened on January 11 with a celebration that included a ribbon cutting with the SanCap Chamber of Commerce. There will also be a plaque to commemorate Chico's first-ever store.

The Newly Renovated Chico's

The store saw a significant amount of damage and underwent a major renovation in the works for about a year and a half. The store has a new fresh look. The new design is updated with a modern coastal feel. The store feels larger with an open floor plan and clear sightlines. new design elements include warm oak and brass displays, beamed ceilings, "hidden" light fixtures, lime walls in custom paint, and rustic oak flooring, The new store features a larger fitting room area and has a new look including painted wainscoting, linen wallpaper, back-lit three-way mirrors, and new artwork. 

In addition to all of the fresh and new, the store also held onto a touch of the old. The store is utilizing heritage furniture from the original location. One special piece is a chair built by Marvin Gralnick, the founder of the clothing company. There are also iconic fashion styles on display and brand milestones shared throughout the store. The original sign was salvaged and cleaned up and is displayed at the top of the staircase. The staircase doubles as a gallery wall displaying art, memories, and artifacts. The second floor is home to Soma brand products, a store-within-a-store.

Chico's Role in Hurricane Relief Efforts

The Chico's corporate headquarters is now located in Fort Meyers. When the hurricane hit the company turned its building into a home base within 24 hours. There were over 1,000 essential workers from the American Red Cross, Florida Power and Light, and more stationed in the company headquarters to help aid in relief to Sanibel and Lee County. The building became a command center for disaster relief working around the clock for two months. 

Chico's also cared for their 1,4000 employees impacted by Hurricane Ian by setting up an Employee Disaster Relief Fund. They provided help with temporary living expenses and helped with mental health services and legal representation. The store also set up a system where customers could turn loyalty points into donations for the Red Cross efforts. 

Chico's is very happy to see the store that started it all back up and running again. 

Sanibel has been making a lot of progress in restoration recovery from the hurricane. More and more Sanibel businesses are back open for business from local restaurants and services to retail stores and resorts. The community on Sanibel is truly unique. It is a special place to reside all year or to purchase a vacation home and make it your home away from home. 

If you are interested in purchasing a home in Sanibel, I am happy to help you in your home-hunting adventure. Contact me anytime with any real estate needs. I am a local real estate agent focused on helping every client get to know Sanibel better and find the perfect next Sanibel home for them. 

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