Sanibel Island residents fear effect of new custard shop on local businesses

There is a battle over custard on Sanibel right now, but it’s about more than just a gooey dessert.

CJ Stevens has traveled to Sanibel for over 40 years and has lived there for the last four.

“It’s a very sacred place, not many places in the world are like this,” she said.

But she and others on the island have concerns about a new shop scheduled to move in along Periwinkle Way.

“We think the current businesses on the island are struggling and we should be paying more attention to them,” said Stevens.

The owners of what will become “Sanibel Custard Shack” already operate Whit’s Frozen Custard, part of a chain. It’s that affiliation with a chain that neighbors don’t want.

“It could potentially open a door that will allow other, bigger businesses with more money and it may hurt all of our local, independently owned mom-and-pop shops that we want to keep and we want to support,” said Sanibel resident Elaine Parente.

However, the Sanibel Planning Commission disagrees. “They have the opportunity to be what they want to be in a unique environment. I don’t think that should be something that should be restrained by the formula.”

The commission green-lighted the project Tuesday.

The owners of the custard shop say it will not operate as part of the Whit’s Frozen Custard chain.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Briana Harvath
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