THE RETAIL CENTER
The 68,000 square-foot factory retail gift shop
offers a colossal collection of seashells and shell
Sandy Lynch has been working at The Shell
Factory store for eight years. She does everything
from office administration to human
When asked to describe the place in a nutshell,
she said it’s very eclectic, and there is
something for everyone.
“If you’re looking for a souvenir, we have a
unique section for that, and we also have a free
fossil and gem museum and a museum of
natural history,” Sandy said. “And just about
every kind of shell you can imagine is available
for purchase, including coral, shellfish, starfish
and sand dollars.”
If you’re in search of an original Christmas gift,
there is a wide array to choose from, including
sand dollar ornaments and tiny snow globes.
Guests can experience the magic of
Christmas all year long at the newly enlarged
Christmas House, which features hundreds of
ornaments, upside-down themed Christmas
trees and a variety of holiday displays and gifts.
Inside the store there is also a nautical section,
a military museum, a pirate’s den and a game
room. There is even an old-fashioned candy
Gulf Coast Homemade Fudge Company
offers many kinds of sweet treats made right on
the property, and ice cream is available as well.
Celebrating 80 years in business, the “Old
Florida” destination is sure to be around for a
while. Since 1938, when Harold and Mildred
Crant first began selling shells in Bonita Springs,
until today, The Shell Factory has seen many
challenges over the years. After significant
deterioration, the property reached its lowest
point about 20 years ago.
One of the oldest landmark attractions in
Southwest Florida almost became a thing of the
past until developer and philanthropist Thomas
Cronin, Sr. had a vision. His creativity and
financial support recreated the destination at its
lowest point in 1997. Tom and his wife, Pam,
oversee the daily operations of the iconic
attraction. More than 125 staff members run the
park and store that are open seven days a week.