As time marches on, some well established St. Croix businesses, many that have been around for decades, are changing hands. Don’t worry, that’s not a bad thing! With new owners taking over, you get to keep many of the things you love about the original business while also seeing some updates and improvements. On that note, we want to wish a warm welcome to the newest owners of some of our favorite local businesses:
Known for their original creation of the St. Croix hook bracelet, Sonya Ltd. has been a family owned and operated business since Sonya Hough and her husband, David, opened the store in 1964. Fear not, Sonya lovers! Sonya has retired and we wish her all the best! The new owners are two long-time St. Croix residents, former senator Nellie O’Reilly, and attorney Scot McChain. They have retained the wonderful staff, and plan to continue to deliver to customers the same level of service and product quality that they have come to expect from Sonya. Shop all collections on their updated website, and stop into the store the next time you come to Christiansted.
Sea Thru Kayaks VI
Offering incredible tours of the biolumniscent bay of Salt River, Sea Thru Kayaks VI has completely clear kayaks that offer a truly immersive experience. In 2019, Ryan Wadkins followed his love for the water, sand and sunshine to the island of St. Croix, where he acquired Sea Thru Kayaks VI. This adventuring-seeking proprietor holds certificates and ratings as a commercial and instrument-rated helicopter and airplane pilot, water egress and survival trainer, certified Emergency Medical Responder, advanced first aid and trauma, CPR, and he’s American Paddlesport Association certified. Let Ryan’s share his love for the ocean and the island with you on one of his tours. He is passionate about environmental stewardship and looks forward to sharing the beauty of St. Croix for generations to come!
From the Gecko
From the Gecko has been an iconic boutique in Christiansted for 30 years. Known for their stylish and fun ‘island lifestyle apparel’ for both men and women, From the Gecko offers a thoughtfully curated collection of colorful selections including breathable, organic fabrics, apparel from exclusive designers and fair-trade partners. When the Gecko’s proprietor Danna Redding passed away in January 2020, it created an opportunity for another independent woman to step in as new owner. St. Croix resident Lori Hirons is the designer/owner of lifestyle brand “Island Contessa”, sold in many fine boutiques throughout the Caribbean, and now, paired perfectly with the quality clothing and accessories that Gecko is known for. During the downtime from Covid-19, Lori has been working hard to paint and freshen up the shop. Stop into the store on Company Street in Christiansted for your new favorite from this timeless shop.
The Bombay Club
One of St. Croix’s longest running restaurants, The Bombay Club, in Christiansted, has also changed hands recently. This Crucian favorite is known for their delectable local lobster, consistently good continental cuisine, fantastic nightly specials, all with generous portion sizes. Founded by 3 friends Tom Rodenhaver, Jeff Seroogy, and Les Kelley in 1982, The Bombay Club is now in capable hands of local businessmen Matthew Leonard and Mo Anselmo. They bought The Bombay Club because they love it so much, and they plan to keep the menu full of favorites Bombay has served for 3 decades. The historic building and busy restaurant needed some updates, so expect a new kitchen and expanded dining room with additional seating to be available soon.
The Landing Beach Bar
Formerly know as Eat @ Cane Bay, this famous beach bar and restaurant overlooking Cane Bay now goes by the name The Landing Beach Bar. New owner Win Welsh and the crew that own Leatherback Brewing Company have big plans. Already the building has gotten some much needed TLC – renovations and a great new paint job give this iconic location a new look. Plus, Win and her staff have cleaned up Cane Bay Beach to make it even more welcoming. Look for some of the old favorites like burgers and fresh seafood, as well as some great new dishes like their falafal and Leatherback Spiked Nachos. Be sure to try Win’s famous bush tea, made with ingredients grown on St. Croix, lots of Cruzan Rum cocktails, and six different Leatherback Brewing Company draft beers.
The Natural Jewel and The Jewelry Factory
These two jewelry shops have been located on King and Queen Cross Streets in Christiansted for many years. You may remember their stunning window displays using beautiful seashells used to showcase their strings of pearls, black coral jewelry and more. New owners, husband and wife team Jack and Michelle Padron have recently moved the two shops into one big, new storefront on King Street (old-timers may recall when Tradewinds had their store in this location). At The Natural Jewel, you will find some of the finest pieces of jewelry available on St. Croix, like Cardow watches, crafted with quality and longevity in mind. The Jewelry Factory, on the other hand, is a bit less serious and a bit more whimsical with sterling silver, druzies, genuine shipwreck treasures, shell jewelry, fashion jewelry and everything else in between. Jack and Michelle are warm and welcoming and look forward to seeing you shopping in Christiansted soon.
Franklin’s on the Waterfront
This fun and funky gift emporium located across the street from the pier, on Strand Street in Frederiksted, has been a local favorite since the day it opened. Filled with everything from whimsical Christmas ornaments and housewares, to body products and local art, there is something for everyone at Franklin’s. Michelle Zarzeczny, the new proprietor, is having fun adding even more to their eclectic collections including jewelry made with sand from St. Croix and varying sizes of wind chimes. Stop by Franklin’s and see what fun new products Michelle has for you!
Nep2une Scuba Diving
Nep2une Scuba Diving has opened it’s doors in the old N2 The Blue dive shop space just steps from the Frederiksted Pier. With a new and expanded dive shop, but the same great staff, Nep2une specializes in small groups and personal service diving. Enjoy the excellent concierge diving you know and love to over 30 different dive sites!
Virgin Kayak Tours
Founded in 1997 by Bryan and Jill Updyke, the small, family-owned and operated kayak outfitter began showing visitors and locals the beauty of St Croix on kayak tours of Salt River back in 1998. Continuing that legacy since Bryan’s untimely passing are new owners Patti and John Thompson II, and their managers JT and Alison. While the players may have changed, the mission remains the same: to offer St. Croix kayak tours that focus on ecology, Pre-Columbian history, and the bioluminescence. The Virgin Kayak family continues to strive to pass on an awareness for the preservation of St Croix’s natural and historical resources through kayaking, and now SUP as well.