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alysen5
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October 8, 2012 3:49 pm  

Where is the ideal location to open a new business, the cruise port ? or downtown? in St. Thomas, and where in St. Croix is the best place to open a new business? does anyone know the specific rents and what the process is to open up at the cruise port in St. Thomas? and the same for the ideal location in St. Croix? rents? Thanks everyone : )


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OldTart
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October 8, 2012 4:35 pm  

In St Thomas, the rental properties at the main cruise ship port (WICO) are handled by the Havensight Mall Association; at the Crown Bay port by the VI Port Authority. In town, the majority of rentals are handled by individual property owners. In all case, rents and terms will vary widely depending on square footage, location, etc. Where the "best" location is, is very subjective and depends on the type of business and the competition.

In the current poor economy, very well established businesses are consolidating, closing and cutting back. Good luck.


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alysen5
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October 8, 2012 5:40 pm  

Thanks Old Tart,

Are the cruise ships coming less..... are the cruise shops hurting too? thanks


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ms411
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October 8, 2012 6:13 pm  

Fewer ships come to the Caribbean, because there are more places to cruise.

Yes, the stores that cater to cruisers are hurting, too.


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OldTart
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October 8, 2012 6:43 pm  

The actual number of cruise ship passengers has remained constant for many years as the newer ships carry way more passengers than the older fleet. One of the major changes has been in passenger spending habits. Back in the day when cruising was a luxury, only the more affluent could afford to travel this way and they would spend a lot of money on high-end purchases. As the industry developed and expanded it attracted less affluent customers and, these days (not to mention the effect of the economy) the cruisers generally spend very little.

It's a continual battle for the established stores to stock with nice but less expensive items to attract purchasers while maintaining a balance of high end merchandise to accommodate those who do have the extra spending power. There's a lot of competition and you need to have a very strong business acumen to stay ahead of the game.


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ms411
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October 8, 2012 6:55 pm  

There's also little incentive for them to shop when prices are not necessarily cheaper here.

I think people are spending for activities. People are always looking for something to do.


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Alana33
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October 8, 2012 8:41 pm  

There are many businesses for sale and/or for lease, depending on what you are looking for.
Good commercially located spaces can be pricey.
A Real Estate Agent can supply you with information regarding availabiliy and prices per sq. ft.
As OT stated WICO has some empty spaces and is managed by HMA.

I went to Havensight recently to by a lipstick for my sister for her birthday but found all stores closed at 4PM on a non cruise ship day.
When I went back the foloowing morning I was told that the majority only open 8-1PM/9-2PM on non ship days, especially summer/off season. Be prepared to pay thru the nose for electricity as well. That eats into everyone's profits and has simply made once thriving businesses close their doors for good. Did we mention the recent rise in the Gross Reciepts Taxes from 4 to 5%.

Contact EDC and see what possibilities there are for tax incentives.


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Ronnie
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October 8, 2012 8:52 pm  

What type of business are you planning? Maybe we have too many like businesses here already. The best one is one that both visitors and locals will want to patronize. Will keep you open in the slow months.


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gparrot
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October 9, 2012 5:55 am  

One of the big problems facing small businesses today is the price of silver and gold has risen to point that a simple item is too expensive. For many years , small stores relied on jewelry sales for easy money..... My company sells to several stores on St Thomas and St. John and the jewelry sales over the last season have grown dramatically. The reason for this is we do not make jewelry using gold or silver very often, we use a metal that looks shinier than silver,....tarnishes very slow....and is considerably cheaper. So in this tight economy people are very happy to find a product that is considerably less expensive. When you have a product that is attractive, desirable, and you don't have to take out a bank loan to purchase it, you will have customers lined up to purchase the product. Don't be discouraged by all the negativity....if you work hard,....be open when others are closed...and have reasonably priced products....you will do just fine...I would recommend a little boutique on St. John. If you decide to open a store contact me...pm....... and I will help you with inventory.....we manufacture perfume. gift ware items...jewelry.... leather goods and clothing items.


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ms411
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October 9, 2012 8:38 am  

Gparrot, are you referring to rhodium coated jewelry?


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gparrot
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October 9, 2012 12:45 pm  

No, we use nickel silver.. rhodium often wears off, leaving a metal of a different color. Nickel silver is silver colored all the way through,so there is no coating to wear off.


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Alana33
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October 9, 2012 5:21 pm  

No, we use nickel silver.. rhodium often wears off, leaving a metal of a different color. Nickel silver is silver colored all the way through,so there is no coating to wear off.

Unfortunately all that stuff makes me break out where it touches my skin, turn red and itch like crazy so must stick with stainess steel, gold or silver.


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gparrot
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October 9, 2012 5:31 pm  

I would really be surprised if you have ever had Nickel silver on your skin....this material is commonly used in musical instruments...and dinner ware. The material that usually makes people break out is plated over brass. We had to have this material made up for us, it is not very common. However there are people out there who gold , silver and surgical steel make them break out. Our sales people have been wearing the bracelets we made them for months...with NO discoloring of there skin or allergic reaction. If by some chance you were to happen to purchase one of our pieces of jewelry...and had a reaction to it....we would take it back. Not everyone can afford jewelry made out of silver or gold.


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sallyf
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October 9, 2012 7:11 pm  

As a silversmith, perhaps I can add my two cents here.....this nickel silver is showing up more recently...but a lot of people like handmade or local souvenirs. Nickel silver pieces are often made elsewhere.

Nickel silver is a bit of a misnomer - there is no silver in it - it is usually 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc...it just looks silvery and shiny.
As of today a 12" x 12" SHEET OF 770 HO2 Nickel silver is selling at $50 approx. (0.032" thick)

Sterling silver (same thickness) is selling at $6.28 a square inch!!!! that would be over $900 for the same size sheet as the nickel silver...PLEASE remember this when comparing prices of jewelry etc.

There is a market for cheaper items, but I hope that the VI can still keep up its reputation for fine pieces at good prices.

The high percentage of the base metal frequently leads to contact dermatitis or 'nickel allergy'.

"Allergy to nickel is a phenomenon which has assumed growing importance in recent years, largely because of the introduction of cheap fancy jewellery in which the underlying metal layer consists of nickel. 10 to 12% of the female population and 6% of the male population are estimated to be allergic to nickel. In fact the allergy is not caused by nickel itself but by the nickel salts which are formed under the effect of perspiration in contact with the piece of jewellery piece or watch. " http://corrosion-doctors.org/Allergies/nickelallergy.htm

Sellers of this work usually call it Argentan or German or 'new silver', but it really is just an alloy of cheap metals. If you want silver look for 'sterling' or .999 or .925 or 'fine' silver.


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ms411
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October 9, 2012 8:22 pm  

Thanks for the education, sallyf. Now where would I find this jewelry? I want to see it for myself.


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sallyf
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October 9, 2012 9:04 pm  

These are some examples of what can be done with the nickel 'silver'. ://vintagejewelrymall.com/blog/post/view/identifier/german-silver-alloy/
nickel silver can be worked like sterling or fine silver - I would like to see his pieces too.

If you google it, it frequently comes up as pieces made in China or India and then sold wholesale...they will use 'silver' and even 'sterling' in the ads. but they usually have 'german silver' somewhere. The price gives it away.
Don't get me wrong, the poster might make some beautiful pieces...but the 2 questions shoppers should ask are...are they handmade or mass produced? and...does the seller represent them as silver or non-precious metal? Some people just want a pretty reminder of their visit, while others like the local craftsmanship.

Here is one way to tell the difference...While sterling silver and nickel silver both tarnish, nickel silver can be shined fairly easily with a cloth alone. The tarnish on sterling silver comes off only by using a special tarnish removing solution and not just a polishing cloth.

Read more: How to Spot Differences in Nickel and Sterling Silver | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_6002610_spot-differences-nickel-sterling-silver.html#ixzz28q0dmtBN


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gparrot
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October 9, 2012 9:08 pm  

Sally , I see your point...if people cannot afford sterling silver....they just simply should not buy anything.


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Linda J
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October 9, 2012 10:13 pm  

But, if people think they are buying silver, then it should be silver and not something else (nickel silver???).

And yes, if I want Sterling and can't afford it, then I'll wait and save until I can.


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sallyf
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October 9, 2012 10:31 pm  

That was clearly NOT my point, Linda seemed to get it just fine - my point was two fold...
1) there is a market for the cheaper items BUT there is also a market for the artisan pieces local to the island (I have no competitive dog in this fight) and people should be aware of this when positioning themselves in any market or purchasing work.
2) in response to the questions that came up - it is NOT silver, has not one trace of silver in it and should therefore be marketed on its own merits - I did point out that it is easier to clean than real silver...however it is never going to be an heirloom piece and will be likely to cause contact dermatitis in a significant percent of the population as it is not plated, but is merely a 'blend' of the metals.

It is hard enough to make a living in the USVI and hard enough to keep the unique character of the islands from disappearing - If I was producing silver work as a craftsman on island, I would be royally pissed if someone attempted to compete with a product whose raw material is about 18x cheaper and yet used a similar (and perhaps misleading) description.

I wish Alysen well and hope she finds the perfect niche for her and is rip roaringly successful.


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gparrot
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October 9, 2012 11:04 pm  

Our sterling jewelry is clearly marked 925 or Sterling. Our German silver jewelry is marketed as containing NO Silver and is made up of Copper, Zinc , And Nickel. Linda, and her husband have always attacked me and my endeavors. I in no way suggested , insinuated, or tried to mislead anyone about our products. I have carefully instructed the people selling my products on what they should not say regarding the sale of my products....So, suggesting that I am trying to mislead anyone is totally false. I am trying to make a living, and help my customers to make a legitimate living also. I offered to help this young lady if she decides to go into business...EXCUSE ME ....Are you caustic people offering to help,....or just here to attack me and my company. Tourists today cannot afford to buy $200 silver bracelets but many of them like and can afford our Handmade , one at a time, German Silver (containing NO Silver) lesser expensive version......and guess what????The shop owners on STT and STJ make a little money.


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gparrot
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October 9, 2012 11:22 pm  

But, if people think they are buying silver, then it should be silver and not something else (nickel silver???).

And yes, if I want Sterling and can't afford it, then I'll wait and save until I can.

Tourists are impulse buyers.....if they wait ...then they will buy it on the mainland or not at all. It is better in my mind, to offer an alternative, so the struggling shops of the Virgin Islands can make as many dollars as possible. So they have items that are within reach of the common tourist, instead of the tourists waiting until they can afford it. You are ignorant when it comes to retail.....if you don't have items people can afford...you have no sales....and you go out of business.


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OldTart
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October 10, 2012 12:02 pm  

Getting back to the OP's questions (this thread has gone way off track), this article from yesterday's Daily News should be of interest to anyone thinking of opening a business here:

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/2012-on-track-to-be-weakest-year-in-decade-for-tourism-1.1385334


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Linda J
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October 10, 2012 3:24 pm  

gparrot, I have no idea who you are and I don't think I have "attacked you" in the past. What I continue to say is - if you call it silver, it should BE silver. Calling it "german silver" is misleading. Island businesses have enough to deal with without being accused of attempting to defraud the consumer.


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ms411
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October 10, 2012 3:44 pm  

Gparrot, can you name on STT shop that carries your jewelry? I'd love to see it.


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gparrot
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October 10, 2012 6:03 pm  

gparrot, I have no idea who you are and I don't think I have "attacked you" in the past. What I continue to say is - if you call it silver, it should BE silver. Calling it "german silver" is misleading. Island businesses have enough to deal with without being accused of attempting to defraud the consumer.

Linda I did not name the metal "German Silver" that is what it was named when I purchased the metal. Frankly I wish it had another name. That is what it is called....so in order for people to know what I am talking about that is what I have to call it. Google "german silver" and you will see a full description of the metal. German Silver or Nickel Silver....you pick....neither of them has any silver in them...but the metal does make beautiful jewelry and it is significantly cheaper than silver....so the products we make are in a price range that tourists are willing to purchase our products. Now, as far as naming the stores I sell to .....YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!!!! I would NEVER subject my customers to the predetermined NEGATIVE crap inflicted on myself and others on this website by people who have nothing better to do than tear down positive things that myself and others are trying to accomplish. I came on this forum to offer to help a younger person a hand if she moves to the VI and opens a business and look at the negative comments directed at me...Need I say more ...read the previous comments!!!!


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