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Over the years, Emily Savage has been turning seashells into art. That is just one of the things that happens upstairs at Shells By Emily, doing business at 651 S. Collier Blvd.

“I wanted a place where I could play with my seashells,” said Emily.

Emily Savage started Shells By Emily 31 years ago across the hall from where her husband, Marco’s original architect, Herb Savage, kept his office. It was 400 square feet.

Now, as Marco prepares to honor Herb Savage with a Memorial Day ceremony officially naming the Smokehouse Bay Bridge the Herbert R. Savage Bridge, Emily says it’s time to retire.

She will be closing her business at the end of May, or shortly thereafter.

“Depending on how many shells we need to find homes for,” said Emily.

With regularity, she has displayed her shell creations at the annual shell show on Marco and with other club events on the island

After moving to Marco Island, like many other shell lovers, she spent the first three years walking the beach looking for shells. When her niece came to visit with her husband who was an expert on shells and they headed to the beach shelling she found a “Baby’s Ear.”

“They are not common on the beach,” said Emily, who was thrilled with her find.

With the clock ticking and a store still full of shells, she has been contacting area teachers, offering to donate shells for student craft projects.

“Otherwise teachers have to buy supplies for their students craft projects,” she said.

Judy Day has been working with Emily for years and Jae Kellogg is another long-time employee at the store.

She has bought and sold shells from all over the world.

Now she is selling everything in the store for 80 percent off, and the merchandise includes ribbon, craft supplies, shells, knickknacks, lamps and more.

“Most people don’t want to buy the local shells; they want to find shells themselves,” Emily admits, understanding the thrill of finding some treasure from the sea.

Savage Bridge dedication May 30

Join the city of Marco Island and the Marco Island Historical Society Monday, May 30, at 10 a.m. to dedicate the Herbert R. Savage Bridge, formerly known as Smokehouse Bay Bridge. The dedication ceremony will take place in the Marco Lutheran Church parking lot at the west end of the bridge on North Collier Boulevard. After the dedication, Herb and Emily Savage will be transported to Veterans’ Community Park for the 11 a.m. Memorial Day Service.

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