The 48,000-square-foot showroom will be in a former grocery store in space 200 at 8650 Gladiolus Drive, and officials have a goal of opening it in September, a year after the hurricane devastated the region.
“It’d be a nice one-year anniversary of Ian hitting us, something nice coming out of those shadows,” CEO Daniel Lubner told Furniture Today.
It’s also a homecoming of sorts for the brand. Lubner and his father, Clive Lubner — the retailer and design brand’s chairman — are longtime Fort Myers residents, having been connected to the area since 1978.
“I live about four miles from my childhood home. I graduated six miles from my home. My children are going to school here,” Lubner said. “Fort Myers has always been home for me and still is home for us in addition to having our warehouse here and corporate address in Fort Myers.”
Lubner said he’s been through a handful of hurricanes, but he said Hurricane Ian hit differently. Consequently, it elevated the post-storm need.
“Normally a hurricane is a wind event. (This time) the water did an incredible amount of destruction,” he said. “We had clients who came to us four or five days after the hurricane looking to begin the replacement process, then scores of clients over the next two to three months and as many working with us waiting for the insurance checks to come in. Most of those are past clients, with some new ones. With this hurricane, there are so many homes that are deemed uninhabitable that they’ll need to be rebuilt. Ian affected Southwestern Florida differently than any of the other ones.”
And while Lubner said the vision for Clive Daniel Home has always been a three-to-five store model, there’s never been any pressure to open on any kind of timeline. “It needed to be right. Post-Ian, it felt like now was the opportunity to have a positive impact on our existing clients and hopefully earn a few new ones in addition,” he said.
Plus, Clive Daniel has always had a substantial hospitality operation, and that channel is also in serious need of furnishings and having a spot in Fort Myers makes it convenient for residential and commercial customers.
“A big reason we wanted to do this was we have a big hospitality business. My father was working on the islands when I was in kindergarten. I’ve continued to do work on the islands,” he said. “Now, the reality is what we’ve accomplished as Clive Daniel Hospitality over the past 11 years. hospitality team have never had problems making it to the barrier islands. Allows both sides to have a base camp that’s in everybody’s backyard.”
Lubner said the location is ideal because it’s near the bridge to Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island.
“As we started to look, we paid attention to this road because it sits off the bridge for Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel,” he said. “We’re the first retail and design studio you see. It’s about convenience and ease for clients. The location is ideal.”
Like Clive Daniel Home’s existing stores in Naples, Boca Raton and Sarasota, the Fort Myers location will offer an exclusive selection of furniture, lighting, rugs, window treatments and more. Since the building used to house a grocery store, the showroom will retain some of its existing elements, such as incorporating a chef’s table for special events.
“We’re treating this with the same attention to detail we’ve put in Naples, Boca and Sarasota. No shortcuts and nothing halfway here,” Lubner said.