Chico’s announces the reopening of the original Chico’s store at Periwinkle Place on Sanibel Island, Florida, on Jan. 11, 2024. After closing due to extensive damage from Hurricane Ian in September 2022, this iconic store, beloved by loyal Chico’s fans from around the country, has been rebuilt and reopened, stronger than ever.
Rebuilding and Recovery
Chico’s has been a part of the fabric of Southwest Florida for 40 years. The reopening of the original Chico’s store symbolizes the resolve of the community after one of the worst storms to make landfall in U.S. history.
With more than 1,400 associates impacted by the storm, Chico’s quickly pulled together recovery services including an Employee Disaster Relief Fund created to aid associates with personal, family, and temporary living expenses. The organization set up group wellness “Let’s Talk” sessions to prioritize mental health, MetLife Legal Support offered free attorney services and BetterUp shared emotional well-being tools with associates directly impacted by Hurricane Ian. In addition, the brand created a program where customers could donate their loyalty points to the Red Cross. Since its inception, over 4,500 customers have donated almost 5 million points to the Red Cross.
“As Chico’s reflects on the recovery efforts since Hurricane Ian struck in September of 2022, we recall the devastation, hurt, and hopelessness that washed over the Southwest Florida community within a blink of an eye,” shared Leana Less, SVP Marketing. “The Chico’s corporate headquarters in Fort Myers, Florida, quickly responded to aid employees, customers, and the community. Within 24 hours, our H
eadquarters were transformed into the home base for over 1,000 essential workers, including American Red Cross Disaster Relief and Power and Light teams, who used it as a command center for two months following the hurricane, working to restore power and infrastructure to the community. As devastating as the storm was, it gave us an opportunity to show up for each other in a meaningful way. We are proud of the recovery efforts, the resiliency of our customers, our employees, and our brands. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our team, we reopened three of our top doors in Naples last June and are thrilled to be here today celebrating the reopening of our original Sanibel store. This is an exciting milestone for our entire organization, and we could not be prouder of our team.”
As a result of extensive damage from Hurricane Ian, the Sanibel store underwent a complete renovation allowing for the opportunity to modernize this historic location.
The interior design has been updated and infused with a modern, coastal aesthetic. An open floor plan provides clear sightlines with spacious merchandise displays throughout for a welcoming and user-friendly shopping environment. The new design also features warm oak and brass display fixtures, beamed ceilings with concealed up-lighting, rustic oak flooring, and custom colored lime painted walls which create a smart and casual backdrop. The newly expanded fitting area has been redesigned resulting in an intimate and elevated customer experience. The fitting rooms feature painted wood wainscoting, linen wall coverings, framed artwork, and multiple backlit 3-way mirrors, which provide optimal customer lighting.
The new store design will also pay tribute to the brand’s history and features heritage furniture from the original location, including a handmade chair that founder Marvin Gralnick built, iconic Chico’s fashion styles, and brand milestones displayed around the store. The original sign from the original store was salvaged during the hurricane and today, proudly stands at the top of the grand staircase. The staircase itself is lined with painted white millwork that serves as a gallery wall to display pieces of art, brand memories and artifacts. The second floor features an intimate Soma shop-in-shop with a dedicated fitting area.
To mark the occasion, a new black and bronze plaque sign will be unveiled, commemorating this store as the very first Chico’s store – est. 1983.
Chico’s will also be continuing its dedication to disaster relief support efforts through the sale of an exclusive Chico’s Sanibel t-shirt, where $10 of every purchase will go to benefit the American Red Cross. These t-shirts will become available for purchase at the store’s re-opening, while supplies last.
Chico’s Sanibel Island is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST and Sunday from noon-5 p.m. EST.