It’s exciting to walk into a specialty store and not know which way to turn first or where to start your exploration, because there's just so much to see.
That's exactly what you’ll find at Trader Rick’s.
The boutique first opened on Sanibel Island in 1996. Owner Lisa Sadler says it was “faith” that motivated her and her husband Rick to fill their shop with beautiful things that she says inspire people, or "stir their spirit.”
The stirring apparently worked, and the couple eventually opened a second location at the popular Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers.
Artist Rick Sadler's signature lamp glass jewelry is found in collections worldwide — Photo courtesy of Trader Rick's
Both boutiques are not only full of beautiful and whimsical art, but also racks of clothing that are perfect for the tropical, Southwest Florida lifestyle, and lots of accessories to match.
You’ll also find a wide array of home décor items, a bridal section, lotions and potions and all kinds of unique gifts that you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
But one item that draws people from far and wide is the lamp glass jewelry made by "Trader Rick" himself. While buying items for the store, Rick Sadler developed a fascination with glass, collecting unique and colorful pieces from across the country.
In his teens, the artist worked as a welder and fifteen years ago decided to take his trusted torch to his beloved glass. His passion and talent for his Out of the Fire lamp glass jewelry has created a worldwide fan base.
Sadler melts Italian glass rods over an open flame, creating perfect shapes in beautiful colors. He adds to these ornaments, Swarovski crystals, silver and other accouterments.
The glass creations are crafted into bracelets, earring, necklaces and even anklets. You never know what designs you’ll find, as his inspirations range from travel and sunsets to fashion and renowned painters.
Collections include Starry Starry Night, Morning Dew, Sanibel Island and Seattle. Tragedies inspire him, too. Sadler’s Jordan River was made in honor of his son Jordan and his two best friends, Jonathon and Joe, who died in a car accident. Part of the proceeds from this collection goes to a scholarship fund in honor of the boys.
The Sadlers do more than offer inspiring gifts and thoughtful merchandise for purchase; they sponsor a series of workshops each spring called WOW (which stands for Women of Worth). Guest speakers are brought in to address a range of subjects featured in the many faith-based books found in the store. Up to 100 women have been known to show up for these events at the Bell Tower location.
Although you never know what treasures you’ll find in these stores, there's one thing you can be sure of: you'll always feel welcome and maybe even feel a little better when you leave.