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@Work: Pink Papaya

Feb. 10, 2005 – After 17 years owning Pink Papaya, Kate Campbell sold her Lemon Tree Mall, St. John, business on Jan. 1 to Linda and John Dickson.
Campbell, 50, said her years at Pink Papaya coupled with eight years at Caneel Bay Resort gift shop gives her a total of 25 years on the St. John retail scene. That was long enough.
So, what's she doing now?
"As little as possible for as long as I can get away with it," Campbell said, laughing.
However, she's still "consulting" with the Dicksons to help them keep Pink Papaya on an even keel.
Linda Dickson said that Campbell sold them a great business. She left behind extensive repeat business and a loyal and hardworking staff.
She said that she has no plans to change Pink Papaya's line of colorful gift and household items, but will add some high-end jewelry to the mix over the next few months.
The Dicksons both come from a jewelry background. Don Dickson owned a jewelry store in Sarasota and Linda Dickson worked in a luxury jewelry shop.
The couple had vacationed several times on St. John in recent years and decided to make the move.
"Before Don got too old," she said, noting that her husband always wanted to live in the Caribbean.
He's 56 and she's 44.
John Dickson said that he'd been coming to St. John for 30 years.
"From the first time, I always wanted to stay," he said.
He said that he likes St. John's casual ambience as well as the peace and quiet.
The fact that the Sarasota area had gotten glitzy and expensive added to their desire to move. Of course, high real estate values helped when they sold their house.
They looked around, found that Pink Papaya was for sale and negotiated a deal.
They put their Sarasota house up for sale, and after only four days on the market closed the deal. The couple then sold off 20 years worth of household goods, packed the basics in a 6-foot-by-10-foot trailer and moved south.
Linda Dickson said they've faced numerous challenges since their arrival.
"It's the U.S. Virgin Islands, but not really like the United States," she said.
For starters, they're still waiting for their phone to be installed at their rental house. Banking takes a lot more time and effort than on the mainland. And the paperwork required by the government to bring in goods is mind-boggling.
"But yet you can drive around with a beer in your hand," Linda Dickson said, marveling at the inconsistency.
She said they quickly learned to roll with the punches.
"It's not for the faint of heart," she said.

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