@Work: Island Shades

Dec. 25, 2005 – When it comes to business sense, Island Shades owner Jill Corvinus cannot be faulted for her timing.
She held the grand opening of her business on Dec. 17 — the night of the Christmas Boat Parade in Christiansted, a record-setting night for crowds on the boardwalk and Kings Alley.
The following week, leading up to Christmas, has been a good time, too, as many tourists and locals have been downtown shopping. She says, "Traffic has been great. I can't complain."
The timing for the type of shop she opened was probably on the mark, too. The Sunglass Hut on Kings Alley closed almost two years ago. She says, "Local residents are appreciative of having a large selection of sunglasses to chose from."
Island Shades carries everything from inexpensive ($19.95) sunglasses to more upscale shades, running almost $300 a pair.
As far as she can tell, her customers are coming in about equal numbers – tourists and locals. Tourists often come in because they left their sunglasses at home.
She says she believes in what she is doing. "I believe in protecting your eyes. We only get one set. On St. Croix you have to protect them 365 days a year."
She brings many years of retail experience to her business. She worked 15 years of retail management in the states, specifically the Carolinas. The last six years she has been a sales person at Sonja's Corner Store in Christiansted.
Corvinus was born on St. Croix and says she is "more than happy to be back here" after her sojourn in the states. She says, "I have a big family here — that was the draw back."
She met her husband here participating in one of her interests: sailing. At that time, her husband, Peter, owned a charter sailing boat. Now he is working in refrigeration and air conditioning.
Her biggest reward in the business, she says, is working with people. She says, "I am a people person." This is evident as she greets each customer with a large smile, trying in earnest to find them the right item from her stock of glasses and jewelry items.
While many business people are always thinking about expansion, Corvinus seems content with her small shop. She says, "It is the perfect little spot, people are comfortable with the island feel."
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