JCK Special Report: Five-star Stores, The Lily & Co. Lifestyle

Sanibel Island in Florida is home to a fine jewelry store that’s as much a destination as the area’s beautiful beaches. Called Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery, the four-year-old store is the brainchild of Karen Bell, a Sanibel realtor, and Dan Schuyler, a former employee of Smyth Jewelers, Timonium, Md. When the pair met, they struck up a friendship founded in their mutual love of jewels and dogs (the barking variety, not aged inventory). 

It was the latter that led the pair to name their business—located in a onetime church turned schoolhouse, bank, art gallery, and now store—after Bell’s five-year-old Labradoodle, Lily. The building, more than 100 years old, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With grand old retail brands like Tiffany & Co. in mind, Bell and Schuyler thought Lily sounded just as prestigious. Bonus: Lily is often at the store, along with her yellow Labrador retriever pals, Angel, 1, and Gracie, 6 (Schuyler’s dogs). “The ‘& Co.’ part is the [other] dogs,” says Schuyler. 

The dogs serve as official greeters, and dog-themed merchandise is available for sale and as promotional gifts. Even packaging reinforces the store’s canine connection: paw prints trail across tissue paper wrap. Most marketing and promotions, including billboards, feature at least one of the dogs, and store events have a charitable tie-in, most often benefiting the Animal Refuge Center in Fort Meyers, Fla. 

The décor—bright, cheery, and not intimidating—blends with the region and modus operandi of the store. The light-colored wood floors are original, and the exterior is reminiscent of Key West, with its bright white and well-windowed facade. Art by locals, including photographer Rob Pailes, lines the walls. Bell’s devotion to feng shui also helps set a happy tone: Wind chimes and a bench on the front porch welcome visitors, while a water fountain and sage-scented candles inside encourage shoppers to linger. “[Sanibel] is quiet,” says Schuyler. “There’s not much to do except relax.”

FAST FACTS SIDEBAR
Location: Sanibel Island, Fla. (1 store)
Years in operation: 4
Employees: 8
Packaging and logo: vanilla cream with copper foil lettering, tissue paper with paw prints, a lily flower
Starting retail price: $75
Top-three best-selling vendors: Gurhan, Martin Flyer, Charles Krypell (silver and gold)




The exterior of Lily & Co., Sanibel Island, Fla.




The store is located in a building that dates to 1914 and has been a church, school, bank, and art gallery.




The interior features original wood floors and fine art by locals.




Since the building used to be a bank, the walk-in safe is still useful.




Lily the Labradoodle is the store’s namesake.