Dec. 25, 2005 Marijean Williams ran a cleaning business in Hyde Park, Vt., but when the urge to move south hit, she and her family jumped at the chance to buy Paradise Café in Wharfside Village.
"We were sick of Vermont winters," she said.
That was nearly five years ago, and in 2003, the Williams family opened Wild Thyme Boutique next to Lemon Tree Mall. Then in November, they started Cruz Bay Trading Post at Wharfside Village.
For a person with no retail experience until she hit St. John, Williams now knows all the buzz words.
"It's beautiful stuff," she said of the New Man line of men's wear for sale at Cruz Bay Trading Post.
And, she said the store also carries a great line of sandals call Sanuk. They're a classy flip-flop some even have jewels and glitter.
Cruz Bay Trading Post also carries organic coffee grown in Puerto Rico. "It's delicious and does not bother your stomach," she said.
The store also has organic teas and Taste of Paradise hot sauces, jams, jellies, and whatever else former St. John resident Cheryl Miller conjures up in her St. Thomas kitchen.
Cruz Bay Trading Post also carries an eclectic selection of other items like guidebooks and jewelry.
Wild Thyme focuses on women's wear with lines such as New Man for Women, Two Stone Dog, Free People and Ken Done bathing suits. The store also carries shoes and the 1921 line of jeans.
Indeed, Wild Thyme carries lots of clothes perfect for holiday dress-up parties. "Island fancy," Williams said.
The store has attractive purses made from pink and gray duct tape, as well as jewelry and other odds and ends like art post cards.
While Williams said that Wild Thyme doesn't have the best location (since customers have to make the effort to walk past Lemon Tree Mall to get there), she said that Cruz Bay retail space is so hard to come by, she snapped it up when the building became available.
She said she's working hard to increase traffic and plans a bigger and better sign to lure people in.
Williams faces no such challenges at Cruz Bay Trading Post, located in the busy Wharfside Village shopping center.
With a few years of retail experience under her belt, she said she's warmed by the thanks she's received from customers.
"I've gotten letters of appreciation from my customers in the states," she said, pausing to greet customers coming through the door.
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