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rokipatel
(@rokipatel)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 238
February 7, 2012 1:08 am  

A long time ago a join this forum on my interest in moving to St Thomas and i did for about six months i try to establish a business in the island but the bureaucracy and cost where simply too much for me. I do love the islands i am an avid boater and there is no place in the world more beautiful than the Virgin islands. I did not go back to Florida i went back to my country Puerto rico where successfully i was able to establish a Cigar store and lounge it has been a success and now i am going to try again in Stt. The islands are simply beautiful and the Influx of tourism is amazing specially through cruise ships while Puerto rico has done a better job attracting stay in Tourism nobody does it better in cruise ship than st Thomas. People from the mainland have to understand that living in paradise could become hell if you are not inform and you dint have patience. Infrastructure like utilities like power and ruining water are terrible you must buy or rent a house with full generator and a house that has a water reservoir system with filter you got to live independently from public utility's if you want to have a normal life. You got to learn that food and everyday items are twice or 3 times the cost of the mainland U.S even getting fresh fruit could be a challenge. Another thing that i found challenging was Internet the providers in the island are bad and expensive i simply got tire and got Satellite Internet from hughesnet not the fastest not the cheapest but reliable the same Satellite tv from dish you need this to be connected to the world. Also i had sprint from the states dint even try it in stt, had to switch to at&t not very happy about that but the house that i rented in peterborgh simply had no sprint signal. I was able to make some friends there is a small Puertorican community in STT i had friends also from NYC is a great place to slow down and take sometime for yourself there is always someone to have a drink with. I really did not have any issues with locals being my self from P.R they kind of respected me like an islander but P.r even thou is an island being from san Juan metro area kind makes you feel like any other big city . But one thing i miss was the magnificent view i had on my rental and being able to go outside to the terrace and look at paradise , i always miss that, i also miss taking my boat to the bvi on the weekend visiting a friend of mine in tortola and bring back cuban cigars !!. But the reality is that i could not be on vacation for the rest of my life i had to do something but simply getting a permit to have a cigar lounge in the usvi is next to impossible, but during a Caribbean tourism fair in San Juan i was able to meet influential people in USVI government that gave me their word that will help me get the permits i need. So guys i am going to try it again my dream of living in paradise will have a second chance but this time with some experience.


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VIsnorkeler
(@VIsnorkeler)
Trusted Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 551
February 7, 2012 3:03 am  

Good luck!


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Jules
(@Jules)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 541
February 7, 2012 10:20 am  

Good luck Roki, I hope you have success this time 🙂


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stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 956
February 7, 2012 12:14 pm  

Good luck, and it's a shame the government makes things so difficult for those who want to creae a business. Here's an idea, lets get rid of DLCA entirely, and just do simple health inspections for food establishments. Let people do business with one another as human beings. In the islands if someone rips you off they won't stay in business long, not because of DLCA but because of word of mouth!

Sean


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East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5337
February 7, 2012 12:35 pm  

roki! I wondered where you went! The biggest problem with the cigar lounge idea is the new smoking laws which are very restrictive. Also, lots of talk about sin taxes to make up for the government shortfall...


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rokipatel
(@rokipatel)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 238
February 7, 2012 9:27 pm  

true but that applies if you have a cigar lounge together with another business that does not sale cigars. If you put the right amount of filters and air cleaners and you make it like a inside outside cigar lounge i dont see why i should not get the permits. Honestly who ever goes inside a cigar store or lounge is a smoker anyway. The law is design to protect non smokers let's see what happens.


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 6523
February 7, 2012 9:54 pm  

I wish you luck but is there really enough of a cigar-smoking market here to support such a business?


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ms411
(@ms411)
Expert
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 3554
February 7, 2012 11:12 pm  

I see many cigar smokers looking for Cuban cigars, and since this is a US territory, Cuban cigars are banned. I think a cigar lounge targeting cruise passengers would do better where Cubans are legal. There's a really nice one on St Martin.


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rokipatel
(@rokipatel)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 238
February 8, 2012 10:46 am  

It is Ilegal to sell any Cuban Cigar product even if you have a lounge . I am betting not only on cruiseship passengers but also targeting stay in vacationers and Yacthmens .


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 6523
February 8, 2012 11:41 am  

It is Ilegal to sell any Cuban Cigar product even if you have a lounge . I am betting not only on cruiseship passengers but also targeting stay in vacationers and Yacthmens .

I didn't read ms411's post as you did. The point she was making was that you would have a better chance of attracting customers IF Cuban cigars were legal here, which of course we know they're not. She brought up St Martin which does have such a lounge because Cuban cigars aren't illegal there.

Do you think cruise ship passengers would forgo beach time, shopping time and excursion time to sit in an enclosed cigar lounge? I do think that if you're planning on opening anywhere near where cruise ship passengers pass by, the lounge is going to have to be completely contained and not an inside/outside place you envision. The smoking laws prohibit smoking within 20' of anywhere where food is served which in high cruise ship traffic areas is totally limiting.

Anyway, I'm sure you're going to do some serious market research analysis before diving in and I hope it works out for you.


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dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1866
February 8, 2012 7:14 pm  

Hey EE -

My boyfriend's back and you're gonna be in trouble / Hey-la-day-la my boyfriend's back 😀

I choose to live in the Caribbean in planning for my infinite future, to try to grow accustomed to the heat...


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rokipatel
(@rokipatel)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 238
February 8, 2012 9:18 pm  

Charlotte amalie is probably the best duty free port in the caribbean having good brand cigar store and lounge will give some man a place to hang while there wifes and daughters are shopping i seen that in Key west and st maarten i seen it in st thomas i see allot of man hanging in the bars while wifes go shopping also i want to attract high end tourism from Ritz, Frenchmans reef that have limited places to relax and have a good cigar. My lounge will have a enclosed a/c area and outside terrace.


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