Finally, Fort Myers Beach residents will have a place on the island to purchase everyday household items. Graham Belger, the owner of The Goodz Hardware Store is opening a 20 by 35 foot trailer this Monday with an assist from the owners of the Sea Gypsy.
Belger has owned The Goodz since 2013, having just celebrated his 9th year in September of 2022. The building has been home to a hardware store on Fort Myers Beach for decades. It was called Jay’s General Store before Belger purchased it and changed the name to The Goodz. A slugline was added under the new store name; “Your Island Everything Store.”
The store offered more than hardware. Tourists could also get Fort Myers Beach t-shirts, beach gear and some of the best ice cream on the island. And if there was something a local resident needed and Belger didn’t have it in stock, he’d make sure to get it for the customer the next time they came in. Residents would often say if The Goodz didn’t sell it, you didn’t need it.
Like nearly every structure on Fort Myers Beach, hurricane Ian delivered a devastating blow to The Goodz on September 28th, gutting the building at 1741 Estero Boulevard. Nearly everything inside was sucked out of the building and lost during the category 4 storm. Here are the before and after photos of the building
So how did the idea for a trailer come about?
One afternoon Sea Gypsy owners Jacki Liszak and Scott Safford saw Belger standing by his beaten up building last November and asked him what he was going to do. At the time, he had no idea. Liszak and Safford told Belger he could set up trailers on the old Sea Gypsy location while they all try to figure out how they will rebuild. The Sea Gypsy is almost directly across Estero Boulevard from where the broken Goodz building now sits.
Belger says he’s stocked up on hardware supplies, souvenirs, t-shirts, drinks and snacks and he even has an ice machine. The ice alone will no doubt be a hot item on the island. They are also hoping to have propane tanks soon too.
Belger, who grew up on Fort Myers Beach, but has lived off the island since 2016 says the hours will be Monday through Saturday 8AM to 5PM.
Love that place. So nice that you can come back in any form. Best wishes.
Great news and good for them as well as us. So sad that 7 months after Ian, a bag of ice is still a “luxury” and we must make a trip off island to get it. I agree with others who have posted here about our disappointment in our “big name” stores, Publix, CVS and 7-11, all still closed. And Marty is correct that they operate only on profit and their decisions must be made by the numbers on the spreadsheets. We also lost all our banks on the island under that same premise. I owned a small business here for a few years and still appreciate our residents, part-timers and tourists who make a point to support our local businesses.
Loved to browse there. Could always find something!
That is wonderful news! And a very nice gesture from the Sea Gypsy!
Wondering if the Sea Gypsy will rebuild? We stayed there for years.
This is great! Congratulations. So happy for you.
That is so wonderful. God Bless You.
Wonderful news! When are they going to tear down the old Goodz? Tear down is a good sign of onward and upward. FMB strong!
Wonderful! This will be a much needed welcome addition!!! It’s pretty sad Publix isn’t as motivated. How is it that it takes 8 months to get their sh** together? (With CVS just as slow) This is why FMB is so special- the Mom and Pop stores/restaurants really care about the people here and are motivated to get back to it. Let’s remember that by supporting them over big business whenever possible.
Well said Monica B!
Right on point Monica –
Any and all corporations are about Profit first and foremost-
It wasn’t profitable for Publix or CVS to open so guess what – they stay closed till they think they can profit again-
ALL Big Corps publicly owned are required by law to maximize profit / shareholder return –
GOD BLESS the small business – support them on FMB –
I go to cafe 239 almost daily just to help them till they have enough customers to be profitable – small business in a building should NOT be at a disadvantage to temporary foot trucks ect .
One has a significant commitment to island – others , not so much –
Walk the talk people , stop being corporate slaves –
This is such great news for the island
I’m so excited for Graham! Congrats!