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Moving to STX and opening a new business in June 2007

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rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

Hello Everyone,

I have been reading this forum ever since we got back from St Croix in May. There is a ton of really good information on this board. The information that is provided has helped us to open our eyes and realize the dream can really come true. Since the first trip in May, I went back in the middle of July and started the incorporation process. I was amazed at how easy the whole process was, but I also had some help from someone that has lived on the island their entire life.

So you wonder why it is going to take a year before we move down. Well here is the deal. My partner is retiring next august, so we are taking the year to make sure that we have all of our ducks in a row. That would mean making sure that we have all of the financing for the business, all the funds secured, the house on the market and all of our suppliers lined up. We are working with a financial planner to make sure that we have money to live on while we work the business and build the house. I know I hear the sighs. We promise it won't be to painful for anyone.

We are opening a Donut/Hot Dog shop in Downtown C'sted. These are not your typical donuts they are all home made and all tropical flavors, we have been testing them out on the people we work with and I have started selling them. We are also working on some sugar free treats, since we know that there is a large incidence of diabetes on the island. In order to really utilize our space we are going to be selling the hot dogs in the afternoons, all types of hot dogs: New York Dogs, Chicago Dogs, Cuban Dogs, Peru Dogs...etc. The possibilities are endless.

The reason we are incorporating now is to get the little tax id number so I can start writing off some of my expenses. Also we are working on patenting the recipe and the name. We named the company and eventually our store front after my mom: Rosie's Tropical Treats and our tag line is "Donuts, Dogs and Sweets"

We pondered the idea of opening the shop here except for a couple of things: (1) To much competition (2) The people here are nasty and rude (3) I don't want to live in Florida any more.

The plan is to go back in October and buy a 2/2 condo. I am looking for something that IS NOT ocean front but a view would be great. I look everyday, and I have seen a couple of listings for Herman's Hill. We are going to rent it until I move in June. This will be our little home until the house is built, sometime after hurricane season. We are building a dome house with a basement and a connecting garage and another basement. When I was there in July, I had the opportunity to visit a dome house in STX that was built pre-Hugo. The house did very well and it is very roomy. We are also planning to come almost completely off the grid, we are going to power the house with Solar and Wind. We have done our home work and we are continuing to do our homework every day. Also in October, we are going to buy land for the house. We have been looking in the Mt Washington area and also Eliza's Retreat. We don't want to be right by the ocean we really just want a view, even if is from afar. Living in Florida, we know what hurricanes can do, we live inland and still sustained substantial damage from Wilma.

I come to the board to see all the new information about STX and get the real scoop, the papers are not always the best source of info.

So I wanted to introduce myself, I am Gretchen and I am the Owner and CEO of Rosie's Tropical Treats. We are working on getting some preservatives in the donuts so I can ship some down to my friends in STX and to my ATTY. My Atty says we have a good business plan and right now I am working on the financials to make sure that I get the right type of funding.

It is amazing how much we have accomplished in 3 months and how things are falling into place like it was meant to happen. We saw my family last week at our Family Reunion and we broke the news that we were moving, of course everyone was really excited. It helped that we took some donuts with us and they were a huge hit. Everyone loved the passion fruit and the mango filled donuts.

I will keep in touch with everyone and let you know how things are going for us and the closer I get to moving down the more I will be looking to hire some people to help us out.

This is the real deal. I have been a software developer for over 25 years but I am burnt out and I want to follow my passion which is baking and being around people and talking to people. I come home and do my R and D and this is very therapeutic. We have made over 600 dozen donuts, 400 sucked and 200 are really good.

We have read the Settlers Handbook and Life in the Left Lane. They are our bibles along with my friends insight to STX. We know that WAPA sucks, and the phone communications are less than optimal. We know that there are problems with the government. We deal with the same crap in Florida. FP & L also sucks, communications are okay and yes we have lots of problems with our government....another reason to leave.

I hope everyone is having a good night. I will touch base with everyone. Please feel free to PM me or just talk to me on the board.

Have a great day in paradise,

Gretchen

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2006 1:21 am
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

Greetings Gretchen!

Your excitement emanates from the screen and your plans sound very organized and professional. I hope you and your partner are very happy on STX and I wish you much success with your new venture.

Cheers. dntw8up.

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Posted : August 4, 2006 2:21 am
terry
(@terry)
Expert

If your looking for a nice place , check out Questa Verde. It's on Herman hill, and the two bedroom units overlook Christiansted. The three bedroom units don't have the great view, and the single bedroom units have a view of the distant ocean and the refinery.
Herman Hill seems to be a nice area.
We stayed there when we were looking for a condo. We choose one by the ocean, but was very impressed with Q.V.
I would recommend contacting Alexandra, a regular poster on this board. She is really a great realator, and a great resorce.

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Posted : August 4, 2006 2:30 am
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

I need to preface this post by saying that I know NOTHING about licensing requirements for businesses. But do you know that there is already a pretty well known business on STX called Rosies Road Kill? I know, weird name. But this lunch wagon sells really great hot dogs, chili dogs, etc. They are located mostly on the North Shore at Cane Bay, but I've seen them at other sites too.

But anyway, good luck with your business and finding a home.

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Posted : August 4, 2006 3:25 am
HipCrip
(@HipCrip)
Trusted Member

Welcome Gretchen!

I love this post, your ideas for the hot dog/donut store (we will definitely be customers!), your terrific research and planning ahead, especially financially. I am really impressed, and as I often do, agree with dntw8up: your excitement is contagious. This message perked my declining night right up!

Have a question about the building plans for your new home. I think dome homes are a great idea for hurricane resistance...what made me go "huh" was the mention of having not only one but two basements! I don't think I've seen a home with a true basement (as opposed to a lower level that's partially underground as a part of homes built on steeper inclines).

From the areas you've mentioned, it seems that you won't be choosing land in one of the relatively few area on STX that are able to access a city water system. For most homes outside the city system, that means having a cistern or, if you're lucky, a well. (The well owners I know also have cisterns in case the well ever runs dry and as an additional water supply.) We've had quite a few discussions here about the challenges of doing rainwater collection with a dome home -- what are your plans for having year round potable water? Will you only buy property that will support a well? Buy water by the truckload and keep it in a tank? (Not likely it seems, given your commitment to rely on alternative power sources.)

Given how comprehensive your planning appears to be, I'm pretty sure you've got a plan for this, too. Please do tell -- inquiring and supportive minds want to know!

Again, congrats on becoming an ex-lurker STX fan and sharing your dreams as you make them happen. I'm sure looking forward, as I know many others are, to following your progress and then welcome you in person.

--HC

Oh, just a kinda selfish personal thought for the business. Love the concept of the tropical treats, but would you please consider also including even a small variety/limited quantity of traditional donut flavors too? The Hip Hubby and I have yet to find a truly satisfying, "reminds me of the bakeries where we grew up" basic glazed, sour cream, or chocolate frosted donut since we moved here. We got a wonderful fix a while back when Chef Jimmy brought two dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for us (and a few friends) with him on his flight down when he moved here. He had them in our hands in less that 24 hours after they were made fresh on the mainland -- pure sugary heaven! We would luuuuuuuuuv to have access to donuts like Mom used to bring us from the bakery as a treat by just making a quick pop into town when the craving hits us. Just a thought as you bring your business plans to life. *wink*

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Posted : August 4, 2006 3:38 am
terry
(@terry)
Expert

I misread your first post.
If your interested in Dome Homes, contact Ted, a sometime poster on this board. If you can't find him, PM me and I will give you a number.
He is building a Dome Home, and I believe he has the franchise for at least one brand of Dome. He had all of the concrete spraying equipment brought on island. He is going to be building them for people.

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Posted : August 4, 2006 3:58 am
toblerone
(@toblerone)
Advanced Member

Congratulations on your move to our beautiful island and to the start of your business. Since you are working with a financial planner you have probably already considered the cost of insurance in your business plan. If not, I just want to mention that insurance for the premises, contents and liability is very expensive here. Just something that must be considered in the overall plan and expenses. If you haven't checked in to quotes, be prepared for sticker shock!

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Posted : August 4, 2006 10:24 am
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

Hip,

We are working with AI Domes in Florida. They have plans for adding a cistern to the Dome Home. For the extensions for the door dormers you put up a gutter system that flows into the cistern. The home that I visited also had a gutter system and he said that he had no problems collecting the water. We might do the well thing but we are still working on that.

The basements and not going to be fully underground, however these will be used for rental apts/family. I was thinking of putting the family up in the Condo. You know the love hate thing you have with family, you love for them to visit, but you hate them staying with you.

As for the traditional donut flavors no worries we have that all worked out. Here are the flavors that we are working with right now. Traditional Glazed, Chococolate glazed, key lime glazed, passion fruit glazed, Raspberry filled with key lime glaze, guava filled plain glaze, passion fruit filled with passion fruit glaze, mango filled with passion fruit glaze, key lime filled with key lime icing, banana filled with chocolate icing, coconut cream filled with cococnut topping, pinapple filled with plain icing and then I have about 30 other flavors we are working with. We are also going to be doing some of my other recipies like monkey bread (pecans, brown sugar, butter and dough). Churros, sopapillas and a bunch of other stuff.

Within the next couple of weeks we will have the preservative thing worked out and I can send limited quanities to STX for another taste/tester group. So if you would like to be part of the group let me know. The better I make them now the better shape I will be in when I get to STX.

We are really excitited about our venture and it really sucks that I have to work my other job to get this one off the ground, but it will make us that much better off when we get to our new home.

Gretchen

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2006 10:40 am
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

We love STX. We have traveled all over the world and we finally found home when we visited. We love the ocean, the people and just the surroundings. I know that we will do well in STX.

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2006 10:42 am
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

Linda,

Funny you should mention that. One of the guys that I work with was born and raised in St Thomas and his wife is from St Croix. Her mother is the Congresswoman for STX. They mentioned this to me and they said that we would do fine, the islands are always looking for new and creative food ideas. We are excitied with all of the possiblities that we are really, really doing our homework.

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2006 10:44 am
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

I figured insurance would be high. Do you have any suggestions where I might get some quotes. I basically took a quote that I found and added 33% to that. However, if you know of a good company in STX that I can work with that would be great.

Thanks for the info.

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2006 10:46 am
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

Sounds yummy! Sign me up to be a guinea pig taste tester. 🙂

The lack of quality baked goods on the island has long been a sore point for many people who have transplanted here from the mainland and Europe. I'm sure it won't take long for lifelong locals to discover your donuts, also. The flavor combos sound delicious. The hotdogs will also be a hit. There are more and more people moving down from the NYC/Jersey area who are bound to come by for a taste of home and they'll bring their new friends along. Now if we can just get some good Thai food on the island! lol

If you like the Hermon Hill location for a condo, you have not only Questa Verde to consider but also Maison de Poincy at Beeston Hill (just around the corner). A condo went on the market at that complex yesterday that is very unique. It's a 2-BDR, 2-BTH unit, but what's different is that it is actually constructed around a sugar mill and incorporates parts of it into the condo. Other possibilities are bound to come on the market by the time your next visit to STX is scheduled.

Tedd Wallace is the man building a monolithic dome home on STX with the idea of building them for others once his is complete. He is very enthusiastic about the project and would likely be happy to show you around his project and talk about the challenges and solutions he's come across.

Best of luck with your plans and with a successful relocation to STX. It sounds like you are heading in the right direction with a well thought out schedule of events. When questions arise, ask away! Someone on this site usually has the answer or knows where to find it.

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Posted : August 4, 2006 12:56 pm
danieljude
(@danieljude)
Advanced Member

As many of the above posters have already stated: WOW! Not only your enthusiasm but the detail of your plans just amazes me. Have you thought about becoming a "Mover's Planning Personal Assistant" as well? I also went through the business stuff on the island, and found it to be not nearly as difficult as I had heard. As I live in C'sted, you can count on another customer the day the doors open. I will gather HC, Becky R and our friends and fill the place. I cannot eat hot dogs, but I'm sure that donuts have protein and vitamins in them, no?

All I can say is my thoughts are with you both, and if there is anything I can do to help, just give me a holler. The sound of all of your donuts sound delicious, so please count me in on your taste testing. As I am a non-stop talker/networker, I will ensure that many, many people eagerly await your opening!

Looking forward to meeting you and chatting,

Dan

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Posted : August 4, 2006 1:14 pm
HipCrip
(@HipCrip)
Trusted Member

Gretchen...

Heck yes, the hubby and I would love being a taste focus group subject for any or all of your wares -- what a wonderful offer! (He's personally assured you that if you make any kind of Boston creme/custard filled varieties, he will give them his exclusive and undivided attention!)

You are certainly working on getting a whole fleet of ducks lined up - gotta say again how impressive it is. I used to develops project work plans and time lines for client web sites my company would develop and design and implement off-line and Internet-based issue advocacy campaigns, and the number of people who seem capable of pulling off coming up with a comprehensive work plan and keeping multiple sub-projects and tasks on time and high quality are few. You are totally rocking.

Again, welcome aboard. Let us know how things go and what we can do to help you bring it all together.

--HC

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Posted : August 4, 2006 5:30 pm
Sassy2
 Sassy2
(@Sassy2)
Guest

As far as insurance goes, try Marshall & Sterling. They handle liability, homeowners, automobile, health, life, dental, etc. They are located in Gallows Bay on St. Croix. Their # is (340) 773-2170. Good luck! Can't wait to taste those "yummy" calorie free donuts!

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Posted : August 4, 2006 5:40 pm
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

At my current job, I have to produce project plans for a number of projects. So we are acting like this is a project, we have a project plan layed out for the next 415 days. I have something to do on almost each of those days. It helps me to keep organized and not forget any of the crucial steps. Some of the things have big question marks on them, like what are we doing with the Cat, which cars go and which ones get sold.

We have started the process of going through the crap in the house. It is amazing how much crap we have. We have 3 piles (1) these things are being donated (2) can't decide (3) definatly going. Right now the pile that is the largest is the things that are being donated.

It is very hard to concentrate on the day job, I have had to hire someone locally to help me with my day to day stuff for the new venture and I also have my friends in STX doing some leg work for me. It is like they are part of the business they are just not getting paid yet.

I had some people come to me and say that they want to be part of the business but don't have money to invest, so I asked them do you have time to invest because right now that is more valuable than money. We drew up a contract and when the business is profitable they will get a little slice of the pie. So it is working out quite well.

Hope life in STX is treating everyone well, because life in Florida....SUX

Gretchen

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2006 10:00 pm
Island Ed
(@Island_Ed)
Advanced Member

Gretchen,
I hope this is not raining on your parade, but having been a project/program manager, and having opened a business on STT, I just want to remind you of the "Rules of Two" (not found in the PMBOK), as they especially apply on the islands. Whatever plans you make, factor in that it can take TWICE as long, cost TWICE as much, or BOTH in order to succeed (2x2x2).

While most here comment they are "wowed" by your ambitious plans, and I have no reason to doubt your ability and drive, be careful you are not attempting too many projects concurrently, i.e. making a wholesale move to the islands, opening an unproven retail business requiring financing, and embarking on constructing an alternative style new home. IMHO, each can be a daunting task by themselves, but combined can prove UNmanageable. While I wish you success, again, be careful.
Regards,

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Posted : August 5, 2006 3:36 pm
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

Island Ed,

I have already factored in the fact that it will take twice as long and cost twice as much money. I have done my homework. I work with someone now that was born and raised in St Thomas and His wife was born and raised in St Croix. They have been very helpful in making sure that I account for everything. They both have a lot of friends and family on both islands that have been helpful in getting me the facts that I needs. I have a very strong backing both here in the states and in the islands. I also have a back up plan if our plans fall through.

Also this is a group effort for us. I am only tackling the business aspect of this. I have two other people that are working on the housing and land issues.

We have done our homework and we continue to do it everyday. Living in the scam capital of the world "South Florida" we have become adjusted to making sure we have everything checked off twice that we run the numbers twice and that we are constantly checking as a group if we really want to embark on this.

I am sure that some people on this board have not been as fortunate as I have been when it comes to having insiders on the islands. Also they may not have come from places where things are not so tainted, like South Florida.

We have spoken to people on the island that built a dome home, we have spoken to people in St Kitts that built a dome home from the people we are working with. I have spoken to insurance agents, real estate agents, laywers, accountants and people in general.

We know that our move will be expensive but we are both hard working, friendly, out going people. Most of what we have done on our houses we have done ourselves, except for roofing and electrical work.

I appreciate your concern, believe me we have had the same discussion with our families over and over and over again. They are the ones that are making sure that we are on our toes and not taking a laize faire attitude about this. We have invested a lot of time and energy into this.

Gretchen

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2006 4:21 pm
Island Ed
(@Island_Ed)
Advanced Member

Then I wish you the best.

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Posted : August 5, 2006 5:04 pm
Steven
(@Steven)
New Member

Gretchen-The idea for your business sounds great! I'm relocating to the beautiful Island of STX sometime in September. Let's not forget TOFU Dogs for the Vegetarians among us! Steven

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Posted : August 5, 2006 9:14 pm
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

Steven,

Maybe you can help us with our Vegan line. I know that there are a number of health concensous (Sp) people that live in STX and we are willing to try anything, even if it means keeping a few items in house to meet special needs.

My brother and sister - in - law are also Vegan's so I would want them to share in the festivities. I will tell you they loved the Donuts.

A zillion possiblites, the only thing that limits us is supply and money.

Gretchen

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2006 11:29 pm
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member

The product, format, research and the basic drive sound terrific and it sounds as though not only do you have all your basic business set-up covered but, going by your posts on this forum, you're also an expert on local mores, racism and all else.

Step back girl!

Your locall frriends who are helping you and your local attorney are not "natives" - they are "locals" and they might be native or they might be "bahn-here" but - oh well -longtime posters here get the point.

I sincerelty wish you well in your STX venture of donuts and dogs. Only time will tell! Let's hear from you eighteen months from set-up and then again after three years!

The very best of luck to you!

And, by the way, did you research this forum before posting by clicking onto the first announcement on this forum posted by board moderator "Islander.? Just asking only because you seem to have some opinions which will probably require some future re-addressing.

Cheers!

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Posted : August 6, 2006 5:24 am
nemo
 nemo
(@nemo)
Advanced Member

re: the CAT...
why the question mark? bring the cat. i've moved across the globe w/pets-not impossible.

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Posted : August 6, 2006 11:39 am
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

Here is the deal with the cat, she is an outside cat and does not particuarly enjoy being indoors. So we are now playing games with her to be friendly to mongoose. I got a picture on the internet and we devised a little toy for her so that she does not chase it.

It would be fine if when we first moved down we had a big house for her to play around but we are going to be in a 2/2 condo.

We have a year to think about it. In that time we will figure out what we are going to do. Most likely she will be getting some kitty tranquilizers and then be put in her little carrier and learn to become an indoor kitty.

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Topic starter Posted : August 6, 2006 12:49 pm
rosiestropicaltreats
(@rosiestropicaltreats)
Advanced Member

STT,

Points well taken. As I posted a little while ago, the people that I am staying with were all born and raised in STX. My attorney was also born and raised in STT, she has spent all of her life except for her college years in STX. I have met all of their black friends, black family members and white friends.

They have helped me to open my eyes and see life from their side of the fence. I went to the fish market with them, I at titty bread with them, I enjoyed a sunday breakfast on the beach at cramer park.

I also showed them what life was like on my side of the fence. I piled them all in the car, we went to Cane Bay Beach, Caramobola, over to Divi and I even took them out to dinner.

They are very simple people, they enjoy their families, they are extremely helpful and most of all they are fun.

I promise I will keep on my toes and be careful what I post.

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Topic starter Posted : August 6, 2006 12:54 pm
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