Brian and Mindy Cunningham came to St. John for the first time together back in 2003. They had been dating for a while when they embarked on a romantic sunset cruise one evening aboard the Dancing Dolphin, which sailed out of St. Thomas.
The evening was magical. Brian set it up so it was just the two of them along with Jim Trilling, Dancing Dolphin’s owner and captain. Brian brought Mindy’s favorite wine and a playlist of her favorite songs. They sailed out to Buck Island, and Brian asked Mindy to marry him.
That was Mindy’s first introduction to the US Virgin Islands, and one she would certainly not forget.
The two soon married at Turtle Bay Point at Caneel Bay alongside a small group of friends and family including their four daughters. Jim Trilling, who was instrumental in helping create the perfect backdrop for their engagement, officiated the ceremony.
Following their wedding, the couple purchased timeshare weeks over at the Westin. They’ve spent a considerable amount of time on the island over the past 10 years and have since cultivated a great circle of friends. But those few weeks at the Westin never seemed to last long enough – They Cunningham’s wanted to be on the island more, so they started searching for businesses opportunities.
“Since that time, we’ve basically looked for a way to come back more,” Mindy said recently from her Florida home.
About a year ago, the couple started to look seriously for the perfect business opportunity. A few caught their eye over the months including a few restaurant opportunities, but nothing really panned out. That all changed this past June, however, when Gallows Point Gift & Gourmet listed for sale.
Gallows Point Gift & Gourmet is a quaint little shop located on the property of Gallows Point Resort. It sells sundries and souvenirs and serves as a excursion and activity booking shop. The previous owners, Shannon and David Pursley, had to leave the island due to medical reasons.
Knowing the shop was the perfect opportunity for them – they both have ample experience consulting for a variety of businesses including cruise and hospitality – Brian and Mindy went ahead and purchased the business. They officially took ownership on August 30.
“We’re now bringing our dreams into reality,” Mindy said.
The Cunninghams are currently in the midst of transitioning to the island. Brian is on-island full time while Mindy is back home in Florida preparing for the move. They plan to have a “very strong presence” at the store, however they also recognize the importance of a proper work/life balance.
The couple plans to maintain the “integrity of the business” so many of the elements that people have grown to love over the years will remain the same. They do, however, plan to expand their coffee bar to include gourmet brews and will also begin selling more locally-made items. But most importantly, they plan to share their love of the island with everyone who walks through their door.
“We really want to welcome people to the island,” Mindy said. “We want them to love St. John the way we love St. John. We are so passionate about St. John and we want to share that passion with them … For us, it’s all about making memories.”
And how can we forget about two others will be along for the journey – Ziggy and Marley, the Cunningham’s two Boston Terriers, will also be making the move to St. John. The couple’s four children (two are high school seniors; two are juniors in college) are also pretty psyched about this new opportunity.
Want to learn more about Brian and Mindy? Click here to read their professional biographies at their website JStrategies.com