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aussie
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December 22, 2010 12:48 pm  

The first is the is NO COMPETITION.

Yup. The profit margins here are huge. I had a young fella who owns a gas station and a food market tell me, " I don't owe St Croix anything. St Croix has never done anything for me. When I can't make a profit here, I'll leave."

The gas mark up is about 25% of the price at the pump. I doubt that the food mark up is any more reasonable.


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Bassman
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December 22, 2010 12:51 pm  

One factor in rising food prices is the mandate to put 10% ethanol in gasoline. This diverts about 20-25% of the corn production in the US to make ethanol. That means less corn for animal feed. Less corn for products that end up being eaten by you and me.
I shopped at Plaza Extra last month. Many fruit prices were the same or only slightly higher than CT. Some items were double, such as Del Monte fruit cups, Greek yogurt Coke was about the same. Booze, 1/3 or 1/4 the price in CT. Beer was about the same.
Yes, we drank a lot when we were on STX.


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DanielB_STX
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December 22, 2010 6:18 pm  

Went to Cost U Less this morning......butter was $3.19 a pound. I make my own bread....$1.75. Purchased some wine at Plaza (Holiday Flyer).......... to get the discount you must tell the cashier the price..........if it's scanned it's regular price.

Oh well............I still love it here...........................................


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Ericw
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December 22, 2010 6:46 pm  

This is sort of to topic but have you heard of alice.com ? Its a site that ships you basically every consumable household item and they deduct any current manufacturers coupon automatically. They don't ship out of the lower 48 cause they only use UPS, but I did the live chat to talk to a rep and she was very receptive to passing my suggestion of shipping USPS to US territories. I think if enough people call/email/or live chat it may help get them to ship to the USVI


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beachguyvi
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December 22, 2010 6:58 pm  

Great idea EricW. I just sent my email to alice.com. Maybe if enough of us contact them they will look into it and realize we are not a foreign country! CVS does a good business in the islands. Hopefully more stores will follow suit. Thanks for the info EricW.


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4crissy
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December 22, 2010 9:37 pm  

May be just my ignorance, but didn't any of you that moved here from the states know that everything was double the cost or more than the states. I made a two day trip and went home and shipped everything I could, and I still have my family ship boxes to me when I need stuff. If you are flying here or have friends flying here have them bring stuff. My hubby just packed 10 lbs. of meat in his checked bag and it made it here fine. It sucks that food is expensive, but think of it this way, the stuff that is real expensive that I have heard about on this thread ex: butter, bread, lit debbie snacks, and potato chips are terrible for you anyway, find other things to eat. Come on that is all junk let them charge an arm and a leg, just be sure to keep yours and don't buy it. Sorry, just want you all to be healthy. The bright side of this note is LOOK WHERE WE LIVE, IT'S PARADISE......:-)


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beachy
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December 22, 2010 10:49 pm  

We had a checked bag full of frozen meat go missing once flying from the states to stx...Never checked perishable food again...


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shdoug
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December 22, 2010 11:10 pm  

Have you seen the phenomenal homes in which the grocery store owners live? I don't know if it's the same in the states, and I do believe that hard work deserves to be rewarded, but it certainly appears that they could afford to decrease prices.

Those aren't homes, they're palaces!! Yet when I as a vendor offer my services to one of these food selling establishments, they beat me down on my price to a ridiculous rate which I am embarassed to even admit that I accepted. The services I offer would save them a significant amount, but they don't want to spend a dime to save a dollar.

But I LOVE Cost-U-Less!!!! By FAR the best value on STX OR STT. Great products, great people, and they stand behind what they sell.


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shdoug
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December 22, 2010 11:22 pm  

Ok, I'm opening a new shopping plaza in STX! On one side will be SUPER WALMART, on the opposite side will be LOWE'S, then at one end will be a DAIRY QUEEN (hello, why the heck don't we have a DQ on one of the hottest places on Earth?!) and finally, at the exit will be a QT GAS STATION AND CONVENIENT MART!!!!!!! Gasoline will be Rack Price plus 4 Cents! Now that's what I call PARADISE!!!! All I need now is just a couple of wealthy investors......


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Exit Zero
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December 22, 2010 11:44 pm  

Any Chain operation like the ones you mentioned run store by store comparisons on many different cost elements of the operation. When your franchise consistently comes out at the bottom of these comparisons they will eventually close it down - the supply line may be too long, the labor costs too high, the waste too big, the theft too uncontrolled, and many other measurable cost factors. Sales figures may be outstanding but not reflected in the bottom line -- when they have hundreds of stores and your store is always in the lowest percentile it is a provable failure.


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Juanita
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December 23, 2010 12:58 am  

@ 4crissy, This thread has made my point for me. The fact that butter at one grocery was $7.49, while available at another for $3.19 simply proves that it is indeed necessary to shop around and be resourceful. I think this info is valuable for people considering the move here, plus since I posted it, I learned where to buy butter.:-)

I live here, so I shop for my groceries here. Doesn't mean I am willing to sit quietly and pay outrageous prices. My reason for posting was 1. to vent, 2. to educate others and 3. to start a conversation that could be helpful. I was successful....I went to CUL and bought butter today! Had to go to 2 other groceries to get the rest of the ingredients for the rum cake. (1 cake=3 stores)

BTW, if you know of a place to buy healthy food for less than the junk, please share. I do believe one of the main health problems with the world is that junk is cheaper than healthful. That's not just an island ting, just worse here than some places.

I ADORE ArtFarm, and they have the best, freshest, organic food on island, but I go in with a very small bag and come out spending a ton of money! I usually eat $5.00 worth of tomatoes before my car gets out of their driveway. You can't feed a family like that.


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Irijah
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December 23, 2010 1:38 am  

FOUR EIGHTY NINE FOR LITTLE DEBBIE CAKES? have mercy.

I have a theory on food prices as well as all prices on the VI.

The islanders are so used to getting screwed that these people will charge anything. It costs more to ship it down, so we are told. And since there is no competition than they will do what they can. Also, food prices in the main land are going up also. Little Debbie cakes are now 1.29. Here they are 4.89. How is it that the Home Depot is one of the best profit producing stores in the US? The same for KMART.

Like getting screwed. We welcome aboard folks.

Billd


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chefnoah
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December 23, 2010 1:47 am  

shdoug, as a vendor, where do you work?


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Bruno
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December 23, 2010 4:42 pm  

Think about this, All the grocery stores here have high energy consuming overhead, (outdated inefficient refrigeration, lighting, etc..) Plaza east pays about $180,000+ per month for WAPA. By upgrading these outdated energy wasting items, they could lower WAPA by 40-60%. Payback for doing this would be about 3 yrs. None of them will put the upfront monies to do this. When WAPA goes up so do food stuffs. When WAPA comes down, the food stuffs does not. The prices we pay at these stores reflects the prices back when they payed .50kwh 2 years ago. We pay for WAPA's inefficiencies and the grocery stores. In the end, they all make the money, and we have no choice, but to pay for it.


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4crissy
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December 23, 2010 10:06 pm  

Juanita, I was not trying to be disrespectful in any way, as noted by my opening statement, may be my ignorance. I live here too, and I don't just sit and get taken advantage of by the stores either, but I do get to choose what I buy and put into my body. You said the junk food was cheaper, is it, or is that what this thread was saying, that the junk food was expensive? I think that saying it is cheaper for families to eat junk food is a crock. I was simply talking about a few specific items that are bad for all of us. I didn't intend for anyone to get angry, I am a nurse, and I just think it is sad when diet causes so many health problems today that can be prevented with proper diet. I know we can't all eat organic food all the time, but there are alternatives to some of the horrible processed foods on the market. Sorry if I offended you.


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DUN
 DUN
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December 23, 2010 11:06 pm  

FOUR EIGHTY NINE FOR LITTLE DEBBIE CAKES? have mercy.

I have a theory on food prices as well as all prices on the VI.

The islanders are so used to getting screwed that these people will charge anything. It costs more to ship it down, so we are told. And since there is no competition than they will do what they can. Also, food prices in the main land are going up also. Little Debbie cakes are now 1.29. Here they are 4.89. How is it that the Home Depot is one of the best profit producing stores in the US? The same for KMART.

Like getting screwed. We welcome aboard folks.

Billd

Right, $4.89 for little Debbie snacks is absolutely WRONG!!!!!
I don't know where the heck Build got these prices!!!
Build, what IS wrong with you, misinforming these nice folks!

Dam, I just knew there was something wrong with that price quote, I felt it ever since you quoted that $489, a %300 price mark up...Ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!
Little Debbie snacks sell at the dollar stores in New Jersey & else where(sure, maybe SOME GREEDY stores charge $1.29, I give you that Build).
To PROVE you are WRONG with your price, i invite you to go to any Pueblo here in STT!
I was just there TODAY & the price is, & has been (get this).... Drum roll, eye roll.......

$5.69!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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mayday - mayday
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December 24, 2010 1:49 am  

Has anyone ever looked into a food co-op? I just helped with the formation of one in Asheville, NC. A pretty simple process to form the non-profit and then set up your accounts with wholesale suppliers. Members of the co-op pay a yearly membership fee and pay 10-20% above cost to pay the operating expenses of the co-op. This mark up is still way less than retail. Your items are always fresh and and you have the control of what you buy. This may be an idea to ponder on STX... with the right people behind a project like this, it could save a lot of people a lot of money. And improve your diet!!


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Molly
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December 24, 2010 2:16 am  

Ok, I'm going to revive a post that I felt was somewhat shut down a few days ago. If I had my own meat deli, of course the bread would be fresh to go with the Italian beef. Hand made both. I would have a lock on beef price for the season, my bread is made on site.


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DUN
 DUN
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December 24, 2010 3:00 am  

Has anyone ever looked into a food co-op? I just helped with the formation of one in Asheville, NC. A pretty simple process to form the non-profit and then set up your accounts with wholesale suppliers. Members of the co-op pay a yearly membership fee and pay 10-20% above cost to pay the operating expenses of the co-op. This mark up is still way less than retail. Your items are always fresh and and you have the control of what you buy. This may be an idea to ponder on STX... with the right people behind a project like this, it could save a lot of people a lot of money. And improve your diet!!

I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I brought this up a couple years ago here!
I couldn't do it myself as I'm far too busy, I was looking to stir some interest with others here who may have some time to organize something like this.
I'm VERY interested in one on STT, as I'm sure many others would be(maybe the same group could set up all islands here!
Do you reside here or could you help?
I really don't know where to start(and I'm in the beginning of my heaviest seasonal work here!).
I hate to say, great idea, Sorry i can't help!
Anyone??


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Lizard
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December 24, 2010 4:02 am  

a

A food Co-op in the USVI. People will not work for low wages now, and your going to ask them to volunteer their time. Look what DUN just had to say. There is a lot more to a food co-op than just who is going to work it, is it going to be open for non members, organic food only, more than one share per family. Good Luck on this!(td)


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mayday - mayday
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December 24, 2010 11:58 am  

Hey Lizard then stop complaining about the high prices. lol The thing is, that it would be what you made it. So make it good and affordable and see what happens. But I bet if I opened one up you would join????

Merry Christmas to all


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Irijah
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December 24, 2010 12:21 pm  

i realize that off island foodstuffs are priced well over the norm but we all know that is partially because of the import taxes and partially due to the personal greed of the vendors...
i realize that the price of food itself is increasing...globally.
i also realize that a great percentage of non island residents wish to eat the kinds of food they are accustomed to from where ever they hail from.
i lived on st. croix in the 70's and early 80's...the same problems existed where food prices are concerned...and then there was only a pueblo and i forget the name of the other grocery store.
after quickly adapting to the environment (maybe because my family traveled and lived many places because of my father's job) while at the same time experiencing great pain when going to the grocery store, i had to step back and regroup.
we lived in a neighborhood that was made up of locals and many different people from several different islands...i started asking questions and so, being the curious person i am...
this is what i learned and it could be helpful to some.
i found that shopping at the market downtown gathered me a plethora of vegetables and sauces that were locally grown and made and were very reasonably priced.
the vegetable guys come around on trucks and you can get produce cheaper from them as well.
if you talk to the ladies in the market they love teaching how to cook local dishes full of protein and locally grown veggies. callaloo is one of my favorite greens to this day. stewed pumpkin too...
befriend someone who knows the land and you can learn from them to find and pick your own seasonings and herbs...learn what bark and leaves make tea.
learn to fish or find out where the guys set up after fishing all day to get cheap fish...you have to get there early though cos wherever they are the fish get taken up quick quick quick...
ones just have to do a walkabout and look up and the trees will give you all the fruit in season you need.
i ate a lot of rice...bread was very expensive...unless you went to the bakery run by locals.
i learned how to make roti and my trinidadian friends taught me much about cooking a lot with a little.
many different lessons were taught to me that i still utilize today.
with the above said...it sure cut down on the grocery bill for true...and many foods i thought i could not live without became distant memories.
it is well rough everywhere in these times and i, for one, have learned that there is a lot i can do without and still eat well and live relatively well...
if ones can afford the high prices that is all well and good, but if ones find themselves struggling because of the present economic shituation...ones must learn to do well without, you see me?
and if your yard is large enough and your landlord doesn't mind (if you rent)...growing your own ground provisions will cut down too...
was just sharing my personal experiences as each one must teach one...
blessings to all and a peaceful season to all...
irijah


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Lizard
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December 24, 2010 3:40 pm  

mayday-mayday,
Maybe you could show me where I have complained about High prices. Research all my past posts they are available. But you go ahead and open your Food co-op, don't bet the Deed on it. Island living is expensive and if you can't afford it you have other options.

Merry Christmas!:D


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mayday - mayday
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December 24, 2010 5:40 pm  

Hey Lizard I just took that out of context of the post. I'm not complaining, I eat fresh local and organic... no little debbies for me. I lived on STX before up til 2006 and know what the prices are. that's why I am having food supplies shipped to me from my food co-op when I arrive in 2 weeks.

Chance favors the prepared mind!


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