If You Want To Take Sanibel Home, Buy Something At The Island’s Chico’s

A baby boomer (barely) with an eclectic eye on design, I was a prime marketing target for Chico’s. When I experienced my first Chico’s on Sanibel Island, however, I thought it was an island shop, and not a national chain.

Since then, I have shopped in Chico’s around the country, but nothing approached the fun of that first Sanibel Chico’s excursion, nor did the merchandise appeal as much.

So I can’t say that I love Chico’s as strongly as I can say I love the Chico’s on Sanibel.

And I guess I am not alone as the tiny island has been able to support not just one but two shops, though I must confess to only shopping in the original Chico’s on Palm Ridge. There, the store manager entices me with tales of the founding of Chico’s and resolved my confusion with the name.

Since chico in Spanish means boy, I was initially surprised that the store is solely women’s apparel. But the manager showed me who the real Chico was, and that not only dismissed my confusion but added to the charm of shopping in the original store.

In the current economy, despite the great merchandising of Chico’s, I am concerned that an island the size of Sanibel could continue to sustain two shops with the same name and both selling only women’s clothing.

It certainly has been national news that other enterprises from Starbucks to CompUSA have closed some of their stores. And there have been hints such as those posted on that Chico’s net profits have been falling.

Which leaves me feeling bad that an annual tradition I began with the first shopping spree was abandoned on this recent stay on Sanibel. Though each visit to the Island has til now been combined with a visit to the store, our own personal financial concerns deterred me from going shopping in the usual manner.

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I hope to make up for this lapse on our next vacation. And, if you want to discover who the real Chico is, I encourage you to go to the store and ask to see Chico’s picture.

Oh, and while you’re there, pick up an item or two so that we can assure that Sanibel’s Chico’s does not join the growing roster of store closings!