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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesOn Island Profile: Jenny Grondin

On Island Profile: Jenny Grondin

Jenny GrondinJenny Grondin, 32, brings a new flair to the Friends of V.I. National Park Store in Mongoose Junction shopping center. She took over the manager’s job from Karl Pytlik in November 2011.

“She brings a fresh perspective to the store,” Friends President Joe Kessler said.

With both art and managerial experience, Kessler said she also brings a great design sense. “And she has enthusiasm and energy, and all that good stuff,” he said.

While Grondin’s been busy making changes in the store, she is even more excited to talk to folks and get the word out about the Friends’ good works.

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The Friends group took over the reservations for the popular Reef Bay hike guided excursion from the park just over a month ago. The trip includes bus and boat transportation as well as the hike, so the Friends group must coordinate all three sections.

The switch from the park to the Friends group means that the four mornings a week the trip runs – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday – Grondin opens the store at 9 a.m. to greet participants and get them signed up.

“It makes it very busy in the morning,” she said.

Grondin, part-time staff and store volunteers are now the face of the Friends group for the many people who arrive for the Reef Bay hike or to shop at the store. In addition to selling myriad wares, they answer questions about the Friends and the park.

“It helps bring awareness,” she said.

And since the Friends has a small staff – Grondin makes five – everyone pitches in on the Friends various activities.

Grondin and her fiancé, Dave Segarra, arrived on St. John in October 2010 to open the Fatty Crab restaurant in Cruz Bay. Segarra had worked in New York with the group that operates the Fatty Crab chain of restaurants, and when the opportunity to move to St. John appeared, they jumped at the chance.

“Two weeks later we were packing our bags,” she said.

Grondin was born in Los Angeles but moved to Florida’s Captiva island as a young child. She grew up there and, obviously, liked the island lifestyle.

After graduating from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs, she headed off to New York. She spent the first five years working in promotion and advertising for Architectural Digest magazine and the next six managing a contemporary art gallery in the West Village.

While she’d only spent time on St. John on day trips from St. Thomas and passing through on her way to visit her Tortola-based godparents, Bengt and Birgitta Nygren, she was somewhat familiar with the island.

St. John is definitely a change of pace but one she and Segarra welcomed. “It’s such a unique and special place. People are so involved in supporting each other,” Grondin said.

With a strong environmental ethic, she said that St. John residents need to constantly work toward things like recycling to help preserve the environment.

As for the future, she said it’s one project at a time.

“We’re setting roots,” she said, “and focusing on what we can do right now.”

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Jenny GrondinJenny Grondin, 32, brings a new flair to the Friends of V.I. National Park Store in Mongoose Junction shopping center. She took over the manager’s job from Karl Pytlik in November 2011.

“She brings a fresh perspective to the store,” Friends President Joe Kessler said.

With both art and managerial experience, Kessler said she also brings a great design sense. “And she has enthusiasm and energy, and all that good stuff,” he said.

While Grondin’s been busy making changes in the store, she is even more excited to talk to folks and get the word out about the Friends’ good works.

The Friends group took over the reservations for the popular Reef Bay hike guided excursion from the park just over a month ago. The trip includes bus and boat transportation as well as the hike, so the Friends group must coordinate all three sections.

The switch from the park to the Friends group means that the four mornings a week the trip runs – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday – Grondin opens the store at 9 a.m. to greet participants and get them signed up.

“It makes it very busy in the morning,” she said.

Grondin, part-time staff and store volunteers are now the face of the Friends group for the many people who arrive for the Reef Bay hike or to shop at the store. In addition to selling myriad wares, they answer questions about the Friends and the park.

“It helps bring awareness,” she said.

And since the Friends has a small staff – Grondin makes five – everyone pitches in on the Friends various activities.

Grondin and her fiancé, Dave Segarra, arrived on St. John in October 2010 to open the Fatty Crab restaurant in Cruz Bay. Segarra had worked in New York with the group that operates the Fatty Crab chain of restaurants, and when the opportunity to move to St. John appeared, they jumped at the chance.

“Two weeks later we were packing our bags,” she said.

Grondin was born in Los Angeles but moved to Florida’s Captiva island as a young child. She grew up there and, obviously, liked the island lifestyle.

After graduating from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs, she headed off to New York. She spent the first five years working in promotion and advertising for Architectural Digest magazine and the next six managing a contemporary art gallery in the West Village.

While she’d only spent time on St. John on day trips from St. Thomas and passing through on her way to visit her Tortola-based godparents, Bengt and Birgitta Nygren, she was somewhat familiar with the island.

St. John is definitely a change of pace but one she and Segarra welcomed. “It’s such a unique and special place. People are so involved in supporting each other,” Grondin said.

With a strong environmental ethic, she said that St. John residents need to constantly work toward things like recycling to help preserve the environment.

As for the future, she said it’s one project at a time.

“We’re setting roots,” she said, “and focusing on what we can do right now.”