The Magens Bay Authority has selected two new companies to run its food and beverage concession and its boutique and beach equipment rentals, interim General Manager MemorieAnne Brown Callender has announced.
DM Hospitality LLC will manage the boutique and beach rentals, and Elevated Hospitality LLC will spearhead the food and beverage services, according to a press release from Callender on Tuesday.
DM Hospitality’s principals are Giresh Mirpuri and Pash Daswani, both well-known jewelers on St. Thomas and active members of the India Association of the Virgin Islands, of which Daswani is president and Mirpuri a director. The company also operates Island Grind at the Cyril E. King Airport.
Elevated Hospitality is a company of ExplorUS, which is based in Kansas and, according to its website, has almost 30 years of experience operating national, state and local park concessions.
The family-owned business is focused “on finding small to medium-sized park operations where we can make a large difference. We take great pride in acquiring underperforming park concessions, turning them around, and bringing them up to and beyond the expectations of our park partners and park visitors,” the website states. They have operations across the United States, from Maine to California, as well as in Hawaii.
Elevated Hospitality’s consulting partner is Patricia LaCorte, executive chef and proprietor of Oceana Restaurant and Bistro at Villa Olga in Frenchtown on St. Thomas, who is Cordon Bleu trained in Paris and is well-known in the island’s culinary circles. Her focus is on supporting local famers and local fishermen, according to her profile on Oceana’s website.
The Magens Bay Authority came under pressure from the V.I. Legislature in 2020 to change its food offerings to better reflect Virgin Islands’ culture, with some senators complaining the menu was standard American cuisine, and that the concessions were run by the same family for more than 30 years.
In March, the board issued requests for proposals for the concessions and received 19 responses by the May 31 deadline — six for the food and beverage concession, five for the boutique and eight for the beach rentals. It said at the time that it would be open to one company for all three, or to awarding them separately.
According to the release, the final selections were made on Aug. 25 “after an extensive application, review, and final interview process.” The boutique and beach rentals concession is for a term of five years, and the food and beverage concession for 10 years. Rights to the water sports rentals, currently operated by the Yak Shak, were not put out to bid.
Tuesday’s press release said that with DM Hospitality “at the helm of beach rentals and the boutique, visitors can expect new and expanded beach equipment and a refreshed shopping experience that mirrors the beauty and sophistication of Magens Bay Beach,” and that Elevated Hospitality “promises a transformative culinary journey drawing inspiration from local flavors and elements.”
“The management and I look forward to working with both entities in the coming weeks and months to ensure a smooth and seamless transition and continuity of service,” board Chairperson Barbara Petersen said in a statement.
She also gave kudos to the company that managed the park’s boutique, beach rentals and food and beverage offerings for the past few decades.
“We want to thank the Magens Bay Concession owners for their many years of partnership with Magens Bay Authority and wish them well. Patrons and visitors will continue to receive updates during this transitional period,” Petersen said.