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You don’t have to go far to find a perfect gift for someone you love

December 14, 2017
By ANITA FORCE MARSHALL ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Are you looking for something special that's not so Ho Ho Hum to put under your Christmas tree? Look no further than all the savvy local businesses adorning Fort Myers Beach.

"When I think about gift giving, my top priority is to choose something unique that reminds me of the recipient, and that they might not have thought to get themselves," said artist Pam Flaherty. "I like to shop local on the island whenever possible."

Sometimes it's hard to get into the holiday spirit when there is no snow around, but let's face it, that's why we are all here for the season.

"My favorite part of Christmas on Fort Myers Beach is . . . No snow," said Carla Pine, owner of Salty Dog Gallery and Gifts.

Once you step outside it's easy to get back in the gift giving mood with Fort Myers Beach's twinkling lights adorning palm trees and beaches. Gifts come in all sizes and can be extravagant and expensive or simple and handmade. The best gifts with lasting value are those from the heart and selected especially for your special someone or someone's. Fort Myers Beach shopping offers all sparkle and glitter minus the cold weather. So enjoy checking out some Fort Myers Beach stores for your holiday shopping in sunglasses, shorts, sandals and lots of sunshine.

The Fort Myers Beach Art Association and Gallery is at 3030 Shell Mound Blvd. and open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"An original piece of art is a great gift because it is unique and often it has some kind of story behind it," said Flaherty, publicity chair for the Fort Myers Beach Art Association. "It goes from start to finish from the heart, mind and hands of the originator. Our gallery has remarkable diversity of medium and level of expertise. We are a working gallery of all dedicated artists."

Fort Myers Beach Art Association and Gallery is all volunteer, being run with all the local artists contributing to its success.

"When I look at art, I ask myself how I feel looking at it and I wonder what the artist was feeling," Flaherty said. "If I know the artist (and sometimes I just have to give myself a gift), I celebrate their accomplishment whenever I walk by their art on my wall."

This iconic gallery has more than 150 members and many of them are nationally recognized artists. You will find a wide range of original fine art which is for sale and affordable. How about a 'mini' masters or small matted original works as inexpensive as $10 each?

"I can't wait to shop for my friends' art at the Art Divine sale at our gallery from Dec. 9 through Jan. 11," Flaherty said. "This sale is a gift for the artists as well as the community because 100 percent of the sale money goes to the artists which is quite unusual for a gallery."

Join the fun including a reception scheduled for Dec. 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., free and open to the public.

"I have a variety of works going into the Art Divine sale, some are framed, some matted, nothing priced over $150," Flaherty said. "Some are representational/impressionistic, some are complete abstractions, most are done using acrylics and mixed media; all are from my heart."

For more information, call 239-463-3909 or

Annette's Book Nook is at 7205 Estero Blvd. #701 and open Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"My best sellers for Christmas are children's books and adult books done by local authors, like Dillo the story of an armadillo on Sanibel Island by Sanibel author Kyle Miller," said owner Annette Stillson. "Plus we carry many stuffed animals to pair with ocean animal children's books.

"For adults our best sellers are The Sanibel Sunset detective series by Ron Base, both set on Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach."

Annette's Book Nook is also a book exchange, so she offers lots of variety for your gift giving.

"I think book exchanges are popular because you can find an author you or your loved ones like and want to read all about them and everything they have written," Stillson said. "What I hear a lot from customers stopping in is how grateful they are to see an independent book store still open."

You will find a variety of books for all ages from children to seniors in all kinds of categories including audio tapes and large print.

"Christmas time is a time to connect with family and friends and sharing that book that you loved as an adult or child makes the gift even more special," Stillson said. "The books that we all read as children, like my favorite 'The Secret Garden' are still being enjoyed by children today."

What is Stillson's favorite gift?

"Hearing my customers come back to tell me about what favorite book they just read is the best gift I get every year."

For more information, call 239-463-3999 or Like her on Facebook.

Salty Dog Gallery and Gifts is located right across from the beach at 1901 Estero Blvd. and open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"People are always surprised at how much I have in my small shop," said Salty Dog Gallery and Gifts owner Carla Pine. "We carry so many unique and fun items. Many people think that I am a pet store, but I am not, even though I do carry a few special products for the beach dogs. We are mostly home decor and artsy items."

Salty Dog is a lifestyle store that is a favorite to visitors, locals and their dogs. They are known for selling furniture, fun accessories, and unique gifts in a friendly and fun atmosphere.

"We don't carry tacky tourist items," Pine said. "We try to cater to our locals and to our travelers that want to take something home that is very unique and special and Made in the USA or by one of many local artists. One of my favorite gifts is our Company C Rugs. Any rug that they design is truly a work of art."

Top three favorites for gifts are Tra` Art which are fun pieces of decorative art; Eangee Lamps, which are made from coco leaves and come in rich beautiful colors and styles; and Pura Vida Bracelets, which are made in Costa Rica and unique special meanings and come in hundreds of colors and styles.

"I also offer private painting classes for families to do together," Pine said. "I love the thought of three generations spending time doing something fun together. That to me is the best gift that you can give; your time and sharing an adventure together."

For more information, call 239-463-9900 or

The Goodz is at 1741 Estero Blvd. and open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

"We are not just a hardware store, we have lots of items for gift giving," said owner Graham Belger.

They try to stock everything you can think of and at affordable prices - try starting in the hardware store for that hard to find gift for your special handyperson who has tools dating back to the turn of the century.

For your avid fisherman, check out their fishing poles, fishing tackle and lots of accessories.

Graham and his dad and bought the store September of 2013. He's a native of Fort Myers Beach and always wanted to own his own business here. The store had been mainly a hardware store for more than 50 years. Graham and his dad renovated the store after buying it and transformed it into a store that offered pretty much anything you needed on Fort Myers Beach.

Check out their handmade pottery, jewelry, unique novelty items, fun beach decor, kids toys, puzzles, books, board/card games, flash copters, stuffed animals, coconut oil, Florida salt scrubs, indoor/outdoor "beach themed" rugs. You will have fun around every corner looking for the unusual and put a smile on your face. Merchandise that is all about island living and perfect for your no-snow holiday gifts.

For more information, call 239-765-8900 or



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