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Coral Bay businesses owners organize

Nov. 6, 2008 – Facing the likelihood that the winter tourism season will be bad this year due to the global economic downturn, Coral Bay area businesses met Thursday at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant to brainstorm ways to combat the problem.
After listening to presentations by the Coral Bay Community Council and the St. John chapter of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce, the nearly 25 business owners who attended kicked around some ideas.
"A Coral Bay website with links," Liz Ford suggested.
Kate Norfleet, who is the St. John representative on the chamber board, said Coral Bay could have its own page on a chamber website now in the midst of an upgrade.
Coral Bay's ambience is more laid back and prices are often lower than visitors find in Cruz, which prompted several people to suggest these factors be a marketing focus for Coral Bay.
"It's just cheaper here," said Christie Dove, owner of a gift store and vacation villa booking business.
She said rents are lower in Coral Bay and businesses have parking. Even gas is cheaper at the area's only gas station.
From Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas all the way to Cruz Bay, people who come in contact with visitors have their hand out looking for money, Skinny Legs owner Moe Chabuz said. He said he's received numerous complaints about this, but visitors say that when they get to Coral Bay, the situation changes.
"It's laid back and they're not being squeezed," Chabuz said.
However, Chabuz said he was bothered by reports by visiting writers who tout "the old dirty hippy thing with no teeth." He said that characterization fits people not welcome at Skinny Legs and other bars, but visitors still ask about certain of those people mentioned in articles.
Chabuz questioned what the Tourism Department was doing to market the Virgin Islands.
"I never see ads about the Virgin Islands," he said.
Norfleet explained that the Tourism Department pushes St. John as an eco-friendly spot to get away from it all. She said she would invite Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty to speak before the fledgling group.
She also told those at the meeting about efforts to get visitors who arrive on American Airlines flights that reach St. Thomas at 10:30 and 10:50 p.m. to St. John. The last ferry leaves Red Hook, St. Thomas, for Cruz Bay at midnight, which makes it a very close call for those people.
"A whole bunch of people stuck at the dock is a huge problem for us," Norfleet said.
The chamber is working with taxi drivers and the ferry companies to develop a system whereby the taxi drivers call the ferry captains to let them know they're on their way so they'll hold the ferry. Additionally, the chamber hopes to put up signs at the dock with information on how to get a water taxi from Red Hook to St. John.
The group plans to meet again at 8:45 a.m. Dec. 11 at Shipwreck Landing.

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Nov. 6, 2008 - Facing the likelihood that the winter tourism season will be bad this year due to the global economic downturn, Coral Bay area businesses met Thursday at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant to brainstorm ways to combat the problem.
After listening to presentations by the Coral Bay Community Council and the St. John chapter of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce, the nearly 25 business owners who attended kicked around some ideas.
"A Coral Bay website with links," Liz Ford suggested.
Kate Norfleet, who is the St. John representative on the chamber board, said Coral Bay could have its own page on a chamber website now in the midst of an upgrade.
Coral Bay's ambience is more laid back and prices are often lower than visitors find in Cruz, which prompted several people to suggest these factors be a marketing focus for Coral Bay.
"It's just cheaper here," said Christie Dove, owner of a gift store and vacation villa booking business.
She said rents are lower in Coral Bay and businesses have parking. Even gas is cheaper at the area's only gas station.
From Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas all the way to Cruz Bay, people who come in contact with visitors have their hand out looking for money, Skinny Legs owner Moe Chabuz said. He said he's received numerous complaints about this, but visitors say that when they get to Coral Bay, the situation changes.
"It's laid back and they're not being squeezed," Chabuz said.
However, Chabuz said he was bothered by reports by visiting writers who tout "the old dirty hippy thing with no teeth." He said that characterization fits people not welcome at Skinny Legs and other bars, but visitors still ask about certain of those people mentioned in articles.
Chabuz questioned what the Tourism Department was doing to market the Virgin Islands.
"I never see ads about the Virgin Islands," he said.
Norfleet explained that the Tourism Department pushes St. John as an eco-friendly spot to get away from it all. She said she would invite Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty to speak before the fledgling group.
She also told those at the meeting about efforts to get visitors who arrive on American Airlines flights that reach St. Thomas at 10:30 and 10:50 p.m. to St. John. The last ferry leaves Red Hook, St. Thomas, for Cruz Bay at midnight, which makes it a very close call for those people.
"A whole bunch of people stuck at the dock is a huge problem for us," Norfleet said.
The chamber is working with taxi drivers and the ferry companies to develop a system whereby the taxi drivers call the ferry captains to let them know they're on their way so they'll hold the ferry. Additionally, the chamber hopes to put up signs at the dock with information on how to get a water taxi from Red Hook to St. John.
The group plans to meet again at 8:45 a.m. Dec. 11 at Shipwreck Landing.

Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.