FORT MYERS BEACH
The property where The Cottage and Shuckers once stood is going up for sale, but some who used to work at the bars are worried. Southwest Florida locals are worried that big businesses will swoop in and steal their slice of local paradise.
Seaside staples like Shuckers were synonymous with Fort Myers Beach.
And if you know about Shuckers, you likely know Elliot Childress, who worked as a bartender for the Fort Myers Beach restaurant.
“It is so hard. When I tell you this was the love of my life…” Childress said.
The area on Fort Myers Beach where Shuckers once stood. CREDIT: WINK News
“This was my life outside of home,” Childress said.
Other classic bars like The Cottage and Beach Bar survived and thrived on the island for over one hundred years.
“And then I get the pictures and everything of the flag just standing there,” Childress said.
Surviving in Southwest Florida for as long as it did, only to be just another building destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Ian.
“It took a couple of weeks for me to go see it … because I didn’t think I could handle it,” Childress said.
WINK News exclusively learned that the property where these local landmarks lay is officially for sale.
What Shuckers looks like after Hurricane Ian. CREDIT: WINK News
The asking price is a whopping $16,000,000, but Childress has a couple of fears.
“I really just see corporate coming in and taking advantage of the situation, which sucks,” Childress said. “It really does. That is my biggest fear. That is my absolute biggest fear.”
Fearful, a giant corporation will dive into the mix and steal that local piece of Seaside paradise.
“For a structure like that, I don’t find it to be realistic… just because it was wooden posts and it was built all fragile for Hurricanes, and stuff, and everything does have to be moved back from the shoreline… I just don’t see them building … if they were to build another bar here … it being anything like the Cottage was,” Childress responded when asked how realistic it is that Fort Myers Beach will be rebuilt the same as it was before.
Dana Gosford is the managing partner of the property.
She said all of the nine owners of the bars are fully committed to maintaining the small-town charm. That is if that charm is on the list of priorities for someone who can pay them $16,000,000.
What Shuckers used to look like on Fort Myers Beach. CREDIT: WINK News
For Childress, it’s the already heartbreaking experience that will become that much more difficult.
“Fort Myers Beach is kind of the last place that’s so mom-and-poppy like it is,” Childress said.