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Looking to Move to St Croix

 
RandyNTaj
(@RandyNTaj)
Advanced Member

Hi all--- wanted to post our first message so we'd intro to the group- and get to know everyone else over time and hopefully make the connections, get the information, to be relocating to the Islands sometime this year or early next year.

We are a husband/wife team with broad range of skills: Randy- General Contractor, Licensed Plumber, Licensed Electrician, Framer, Appliance & HVAC Technician/Repairman with 30+ years of experience. Master Scuba Diver, Trained Chef, and on a tangent side note, former Starkey Repairman/Technician (hearing aids). Lived in CO since age 14, now approaching the age where the cold and snow have lost their allure and he'd rather be on a beach with his wife, looking at fish, teaching others to dive, fixing things where it isn't bone chilling cold, and in general living on island time.

Taj- Law School Grad (not practicing at present), Paralegal, IT Technician for computers and networking, Graphic Designer/Webmaster, Programmer, Professional Photographer, Trained Chef (France/Italy), former Director of Promotions/Marketing/Social Media for a hospital/health care group- and on her tangent note, a jewelry designer and fabricator including chain maille. Colorado Native for the most part (9 states and 3 countries during education) with grown children and ready for island time to accompany Randy on his pursuits, cook for friends, laugh a lot, run some websites and not deal with the cold and snow either.

We both need to find jobs of some sort to settle in a bit- our aspiration is to have a dive shop somewhere in the Carribean and have a little cafe attached where we can take turns or cook tandem for our guests. We figured we'd start in USVI as that would put us in a position to either root there, or explore the other nearby areas with less impact than repeated trips from CO. Reading the message boards on housing, cars and other items--- most of which comes as no big surprise. Cost of living probably isn't much different than what we've had here in Durango/Crested Butte where we are both from and have had houses.

So....we'd like to start networking, looking at options, getting to know some folk who have made the leap...and start building our hopeful group of future friends and neighbors. We'd like to look at coming down in the next few months- probably the pre-visit, but may delay until fall when the scuba diving is good as well. However--- if someone has an itch for us--- we can send resumes and other info, and schedule a trip to flesh out leads.

So, hi all...and glad to be a part of this!

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Topic starter Posted : April 4, 2014 12:49 am
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

Welcome to the message board RandyNTaj. Hopefully you will come for a visit to see which island is best for you.

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Posted : April 4, 2014 1:14 am
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

You both have skills highly in demand on STX however I would not suggest starting a dive shop. Get settled, get networked, and build a clientele with your skills - Randy as a licensed plumber/electrician (woot!) will never lack for work - you as a licensed paralegal/chef will always have work as well. There are LOTS of people wanting to be dive masters and open dive shops, and few that succeed - what you both have to offer is far greater! And then keep diving as a FUN hobby. 😉

Welcome to St. Croix, and good luck to you both with the move.

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Posted : April 4, 2014 1:27 am
RandyNTaj
(@RandyNTaj)
Advanced Member

Thank you. Randy has been to the USVI many times, It has been a while for Taj as she's got 2 girls that are now in college. We like Bon Aire and T&C but want to stay domestic for a while and retain some US identity despite the ridiculous politics at present...

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Topic starter Posted : April 4, 2014 1:36 am
RandyNTaj
(@RandyNTaj)
Advanced Member

You both have skills highly in demand on STX however I would not suggest starting a dive shop. Get settled, get networked, and build a clientele with your skills - Randy as a licensed plumber/electrician (woot!) will never lack for work - you as a licensed paralegal/chef will always have work as well. There are LOTS of people wanting to be dive masters and open dive shops, and few that succeed - what you both have to offer is far greater! And then keep diving as a FUN hobby. 😉

Welcome to St. Croix, and good luck to you both with the move.

Thank you for the welcome and reassurance. The dive shop idea is probably a few years away. We just knew that we couldn't 'dive in' with it and not have other resources in play. We have 2 houses here in CO we are selling, large SUV vehicles we have to decide if we want to keep either/both and transport, and other items in consideration. We figured we would find a spot in the USVI to start up with- have jobs and keep our hobbies--- and then let it go from there. If we don't reach the 'dive shop' dream--- we will still be in the islands doing things we are both very good at. We are looking primarily at STX as Randy is not a city boy fan (Taj loves metro areas but prefers to be 'just outside' them) and from our visits past and research, STX seems to suit us better than STT though we may go there if jobs/housing suits to start.

We will rent something for a while- both of us working- and just take things as they come. Discussing keeping a condo in Crested Butte or elsewhere for the hurricane season--- house in Durango has sold.... so it's tying up loose ends. We just have to find jobs to get us there--- and know that it's unlikely anyone will hire us unless we're already there---- but we're open to possibilities should the opposite prove true!! (if you know of reputable businesses that would hire Taj--- do let us know! Randy can follow and stir up work once there)

Thanks for the welcomes--- we're sitting here in the snow...dreaming of the beach.

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Topic starter Posted : April 4, 2014 1:41 am
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

Absolutely, and once you're closer to "the move" I can introduce you to some people.

Please just be cautious of liquidating all/most of your assets and sinking them into St. Croix. It is an amazing place, but as they say, the easiest way to make a small fortune in the islands is to spend a large fortune on being there. My husband and I lost about [a lot] in ten years on STX due to business and real estate investments - cash, actual realized losses. It happens. Keep your money in savings and spend what you need to have fun, stay afloat, and do what is meaningful for you both, and you will be happy. 🙂

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Posted : April 4, 2014 2:59 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

RandyNTaj, it sounds as though your thinking is right on target and I'm sure a serious PMV will be even more revealing! I'd lived on STT for 11 years before deciding to open my own business and can confirm that operating a business here isn't a piece of cake. I already had experience stateside owning and operating my own business for several years but had I started my venture here (I operated it for 16 years before I finally closed it two years ago) "fresh off the boat" I have no doubt it would have fallen flat very quickly without the resources and contacts I made in the first decade here working for others. All the best with your plans!

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Posted : April 4, 2014 11:38 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

Welcome to St. Croix! We moved here 10 years ago and Iove it. I like to complain once in a while but I still have no regrets about making the leap to island life. As others have posted, your skills will serve you well here. You might look at buying an existing business as there are many for sale and well priced. Its a transient society but there are many good opportunities and great people here.

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Posted : April 4, 2014 11:52 am
Ca. Dreamers
(@ca-dreamers)
Advanced Member

You both have skills highly in demand on STX however I would not suggest starting a dive shop. Get settled, get networked, and build a clientele with your skills - Randy as a licensed plumber/electrician (woot!) will never lack for work - you as a licensed paralegal/chef will always have work as well. There are LOTS of people wanting to be dive masters and open dive shops, and few that succeed - what you both have to offer is far greater! And then keep diving as a FUN hobby. 😉

Welcome to St. Croix, and good luck to you both with the move.

Thank you for the welcome and reassurance. The dive shop idea is probably a few years away. We just knew that we couldn't 'dive in' with it and not have other resources in play. We have 2 houses here in CO we are selling, large SUV vehicles we have to decide if we want to keep either/both and transport, and other items in consideration. We figured we would find a spot in the USVI to start up with- have jobs and keep our hobbies--- and then let it go from there. If we don't reach the 'dive shop' dream--- we will still be in the islands doing things we are both very good at. We are looking primarily at STX as Randy is not a city boy fan (Taj loves metro areas but prefers to be 'just outside' them) and from our visits past and research, STX seems to suit us better than STT though we may go there if jobs/housing suits to star

We will rent something for a while- both of us working- and just take things as they come. Discussing keeping a condo in Crested Butte or elsewhere for the hurricane season--- house in Durango has sold.... so it's tying up loose ends. We just have to find jobs to get us there--- and know that it's unlikely anyone will hire us unless we're already there---- but we're open to possibilities should the opposite prove true!! (if you know of reputable businesses that would hire Taj--- do let us know! Randy can follow and stir up work once there)

Thanks for the welcomes--- we're sitting here in the snow...dreaming of the beach.

Just one piece of advice.

DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU!

Example: the SUVs and there are lots of others.

We brought from California a Ford Excursion and a Ford Explorer many on this board tried in vane to discourage us.

Best thing we did was move OUR cars, ones we like and one that we are sure are sound mechanically.

We don't work but it sure seems like there are a lot of hole that need filing with skills like yours.

Welcome to the board.

CD

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Posted : April 4, 2014 12:27 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

welcome to the forum. juliekay has great advise about not putting all your eggs in one basket. we too have lost a lot in the almost 10 years we have been here.
it is beautiful here and i think you will enjoy it as long as you have enough money. it is not cheap to live here. food/electric/gas..... the list goes on.
do a lot of reading here and ask a ton of questions.

if you are a plumber/electrician who is good and actually knows how to do as promised, you should do fine

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Posted : April 4, 2014 12:30 pm
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

There was an ad posted in the classified section of this board not too long ago for a Management position at Gentle Winds Condos. The postition included a 2 bedroom condo. With your skills, could be worth looking into if position still open.

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Posted : April 4, 2014 12:49 pm
RandyNTaj
(@RandyNTaj)
Advanced Member

There was an ad posted in the classified section of this board not too long ago for a Management position at Gentle Winds Condos. The postition included a 2 bedroom condo. With your skills, could be worth looking into if position still open.

I will look around and see if I can find that information--- if you have a link or some contact information, why don't you PM me that and I'll take it and run with it. It's possible too, that even if the position has filled- it may not work out for either end and it could open up again (I've done property management in the past--- sometimes it lasts 3-6 months and then they move on) and we can put our names on the list. Thank you, this is great information!

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Topic starter Posted : April 4, 2014 3:53 pm
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

Job for property manager posted March 21. Classified section, page 2. Good luck!

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Posted : April 4, 2014 4:14 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

I found it:

https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?5,220839

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Posted : April 4, 2014 4:25 pm
RandyNTaj
(@RandyNTaj)
Advanced Member

We're going to submit our resumes for this...and if it works out--- that may be exactly what we needed to ensure we get there with solid footing. Thank you! Should all work out--- we must thank you personally!

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Topic starter Posted : April 4, 2014 5:23 pm
RandyNTaj
(@RandyNTaj)
Advanced Member

Absolutely, and once you're closer to "the move" I can introduce you to some people.

Please just be cautious of liquidating all/most of your assets and sinking them into St. Croix. It is an amazing place, but as they say, the easiest way to make a small fortune in the islands is to spend a large fortune on being there. My husband and I lost about [a lot] in ten years on STX due to business and real estate investments - cash, actual realized losses. It happens. Keep your money in savings and spend what you need to have fun, stay afloat, and do what is meaningful for you both, and you will be happy. 🙂

We don't plan to liquidate everything- but we know that keeping two homes going is more expensive than simply packaging up one and living in the other for a period of time. Taj has her own business and related items (SUV, motorcycles, etc.) and Randy has his own business with his items (Work truck, motorcycle, tools) we will just have to evaluate things as to needs in both locations. We FULLY plan to both be working there--- as even with a cushion of savings, liquidated assets, etc..... preparing for the rain is always easier before than during. We do not know that we will buy a home or business on STX, as we have said, it may be a stepping stone to something else, or it may wind up being exactly what we want. Time will tell.

Our stateside/mainland items will remain as an anchor here for a period of time and we will see what comes best. We did put in for the position mentioned in this thread, so hopefully we will see what comes of that. Thank you, this message board has been most helpful!

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Topic starter Posted : April 4, 2014 6:55 pm
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

Yes, keep us posted.

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Posted : April 4, 2014 6:56 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

Be aware that often employers are very hesitant to hire from off-island. Too often people just don't show up.

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Posted : April 5, 2014 12:42 am
RandyNTaj
(@RandyNTaj)
Advanced Member

Be aware that often employers are very hesitant to hire from off-island. Too often people just don't show up.

We understand that....and we'd do a pre-hire visit to be face-to-face for both parties' interests to hammer out details, and seal the deal.... we don't do no-shows. 🙂

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Topic starter Posted : April 5, 2014 1:37 am
divinggirl
(@divinggirl)
Trusted Member

You indicated that you "know we will buy a home or business on STX". I can not stress enough that you should live here for a period of time (at least 6 months) before purchasing a home. It takes time to get to know the subtleties of the areas you find desirable. For example, I never knew there were areas of the island that are very prone to earthquakes. We have had some moderate to significant issues after earthquakes with our home.
Also, it will be good for you to understand the maintenance issues with living in a highly corrosive environment. Your skills will be very valuable as a home owner here. My husband and I have discovered that we would be much further ahead financially if we had just continued renting instead of purchasing our home here. That is largely due to the high cost of maintenance, repair and remodeling.

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Posted : April 5, 2014 11:25 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

" For example, I never knew there were areas of the island that are very prone to earthquakes. We have had some moderate to significant issues after earthquakes with our home."

Our islands in their entirety are prone to earthquakes. Not any one specific section on an island is more prone than another since we are located on the Puerto Rico trench. The Trench began to form about 70 million years ago, as the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates started to grind past each other along the Bunce Fault system named for a pioneering geophysicist, Dr. Elizabeth Bunce. This fault system is similar to the San Andreas Fault in California. Because Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands lie on this active plate boundary, tsunami-causing earthquakes and submarine landslides are prevelant.

There are days I get dozens upon dozens of USGS VI Alerts for earthquakes. Luckily, most you don't feel. Some days I get none. We live in an extremely active earthquake zone.

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Posted : April 5, 2014 12:42 pm
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