@Work: Cocoloba Shopping Center

Jan. 27, 2005 – Shopping choices in the Coral Bay area recently grew by leaps and bounds with the opening of Cocoloba shopping center. It's located on Route 107 between Crabby's Watersports and Voyages Restaurant.
"We just felt like it was needed in Coral Bay. The area seems to be growing," owner Jim Phillips said.
He and his wife, Genoveva Rodriquez, have signed up stores with goods and services long-needed in Coral Bay.
Aqua Bistro restaurant and bar are the shopping center's heart. The bar sits adjacent to the road in the u-shaped complex, with the courtyard restaurant occupying a spot at the back of the shopping center. Aqua Bistro owner Marc Kaye said the restaurant is open for breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m., for lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The bar remains open until 11 p.m. or midnight, depending on the traffic.
The restaurant menu features a selection of fish, meat, chicken, pasta, and vegetarian dishes. Prices for dinner entrees are all under $20.
"I want local people to come. The prices are geared toward people who live here," Kaye said.
The shopping center also includes the Sugar Apple, which moved from the Shipwreck Landing complex. It will carry jewelry and some clothing.
Bliss and Karma Sutra both carry women's clothing. Big Fish has Jimmy Buffet items as well as clothing. Work of Heart sells hand-painted clothing and home furnishings. Castaways sells new and consignment furniture as well as bed and bath items. Steinworks sells jewelry and makes repairs.
Keep Me Posted is an Internet kiosk. Phillips said it also offers notary services. The complex also includes a leather shop, hair salon, a masseuse and offices.
Phillips said most of the stores are already open and a gourmet grocery store, Lily's Gourmet Market, will open by the end of February.
Cocoloba is the latest in the continuing changes happening in Coral Bay. Phillips said that while development is inevitable, he doesn't want to see the area "go crazy" like Cruz Bay.
Phillips, a Mobile, Ala., native, was a commercial diver working on oil rigs in the cold North Sea when he had an opportunity to work on projects at what was then called St. Thomas Airport Cyril E. King Airport, now Cyril E. King Airport.
That was 27 years ago, and, after tasting the tropics, Phillips said he just wasn't willing to go back to the North Sea jobs.
Rodriquez hails from Havana, Cuba, and has been in the territory for 23 years. After running the long-closed restaurant, The Still, and a couple of shops, she started helping Philips with his construction projects.
Phillips said that while they've looked elsewhere to live and work, the fact that the American flag flies overhead helps keep them on St. John.
"And the water and the temperature," he said, ticking off reasons why they like St. John.

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