Written for Sanibel’s Best by Jesi Cason
When Laurie and her daughter, Alice, decided to go into business together, nothing sounded as sweet as opening up an ice cream shop! The duo moved to Sanibel Island, a beloved travel destination, where they purchased and rebranded an ice cream shop and became true fixtures of the community. Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream and Sanibel’s Best Bakery & Coffee Shop was born!
It was rare to walk into the ice cream shop and not see Laurie or Alice (or both) working tirelessly to create sweet treats for vacationers and locals on Sanibel Island. These two women are not the types to open a business and leave the operation to be run by employees -they put their heart and soul into this business and dedicated themselves to the community. Sanibel’s Best partnered with the Captains for Clean Water, raising money for a full year to support environmental education regarding Florida’s estuaries and Everglades.
On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian tore through Southwest Florida, decimating homes and businesses across the region. The shop, owned by Laurie and Alice, and the home they shared were not spared. While they have not been able to access the island to capture photos of the damage, reports are that very few structures survived the storm. Transportation to and from the island has been severely limited due to the Sanibel Causeway Bridge being damaged, leaving the island accessible only by boat. Businesses and residents may not be able to start rebuilding for months, and the island could take years to get back to normal.
This storm has irrevocably changed Southwest Florida, and many businesses will not be able to rebuild and remain in our community. Sanibel’s Best has no intention of abandoning Sanibel – and Laurie and Alice need our help to rebuild. One day, Sanibel will be a paradise again, and Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream will be proudly serving desserts to everyone who loves the island as much as Laurie and Alice do!
My name is Jesi, and Alice and Laurie are my friends. Small businesses are the lifeblood of this community, and we want to be sure that when Sanibel is rebuilt, all the small business owners that make it such a special place are able to return!
Funds raised will go directly to Laurie and Alice Verme, owners of Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream and Sanibel’s Best Bakery & Coffee Shop, and full-time residents of Sanibel Island to assist them with rebuilding their business, home, and lives. October-May is the tourist season and the time of the year where businesses on Sanibel make the bulk of their income – so we would like to reach our fundraising goal by the end of 2022 to help Laurie and Alice weather the next few months.