While we could certainly feel sad this week, for what we’ve lost, for the end of an era, at least for us, for the effect our closing will have on our community, for all of our wonderful memories and all the amazing people we’ve met. Yes, it would be easy to be sad.

But we truly are not. Call it perspective, call it faith, call it anything you want, but what we are today is grateful!

We’ve had a decade of doing something we love with great people beside us. We gave it our best shot, did our best with the resources we had to speak truth to power in our corner of the world and shared our community’s best stories with our readers.

Independent journalism is an endangered species these days. We are proud to have been a tiny part of the fourth estate, an institution that plays a critical role in any democracy and that is under attack, literally and figuratively. When there is no media left to challenge our leaders and institutions, they will be able to say and do anything they want with impunity. That applies equally to Washington, D.C. and Fort Myers Beach.

We are grateful for each and every one of our readers and advertisers who came along with us on this amazing ride. Your loyalty for the past decade and your support since our closure announcement have been very much appreciated and quite humbling.

We’d hoped to sell the newspaper to someone who could take it forward, but that hasn’t happened. We could be bitter that we are walking away from a whole bunch of money invested in this business ten years ago. In spite of this loss, we remain grateful. We know that many others are facing serious financial battles of their own. We have a home and are able to continue living in this amazing place. We are lucky.

Have we ever shared that our sons were half-convinced ten years ago that we had totally lost our minds when we bought a newspaper on a barrier island in Florida? And that was before we began sharing our stories with them about some of the more colorful aspects of life on the beach and the people who walked into our office or called us with some truly bizarre requests or demands. Yep, we learned a couple years into this that not all our stories needed to be shared with our sons. Kinda like they no doubt decided in high school and college.

We are grateful that we were lucky enough in our life’s journey, to land here, amidst the most welcoming, warm, interesting and spirited community we’ve ever had the good fortune to know. That is why we have no plans to leave.

We are grateful that we have everything we need. We have our health. We have family and friends. We have an long list of places to visit and things to do that we will finally  have the chance to start checking off. How could we possibly complain when we wake up every day in Paradise, our frig is full, our cars start and most of the geckos stay outside?

Thank you all for being a part of this wild ride with us. We wish you all good health & happiness, the company of good friends and family and the wisdom to know that life is good!

See you on the beach!


Missy & Bob Layfield

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” ― Fred Rogers