Mastering the Art of St. John Grocery Shopping During a Holiday Week

Mastering the Art of St. John Grocery Shopping During a Holiday Week

Generally, on a busy week, the shelves in the grocery stores on St. John are looking pretty skimpy on Sundays and Mondays. That is because our small, but efficient, grocers receive the bulk of their weekly shipment towards the beginning of each week. And this week has been no exception, as the holiday crowds and local residents rushed the stores this weekend on the hunt for turkey, stuffing and other delicious comfort food fixins in preparation for their holiday feasts.

Yesterday, Dana of Landlubber Logistics Grocery Provisioning, posted the following photo from the produce aisle at St. John Market….

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For those of us that live here, this is not an uncommon sight. But it is unsettling with Thanksgiving around the corner!

The employee of the provisioning company took it in full stride as she sped throughout her shopping, cleverly improvising her clients’ grocery lists and battling with traffic throughout the day (with a smile on her face!). In a perfect world, we are ALL like Dana. But, let’s face it. Even on St. John (maybe, sometimes, more so on St John?), the holidays become a WEE bit more stressful. Especially when we can’t find what we need for our planned execution of a perfect holiday meal!

As I mentioned above, this is something we deal with every week when there is a high influx of visitor traffic. So, if you are visiting, don’t freak out! But, please be advised that the local grocers are going to be BUSY over the next 48 hours as they re-stock with the supplies that have arrived and deal with the heavy amount of traffic in their stores. And you can help to cut down on some of that traffic, and your own stress, while still getting (most of) your Thanksgiving supplies.

First, please don’t take your entire family (or families) to the grocery store! Our stores are tiny, although generally well equipped. And, when you bring two cars and six kiddos with you to do your shopping, it creates congestion throughout the store, while in line and in the minimalist parking areas. It’s already going to be pretty crowded, so please help to cut down on the crowds by bringing only your “essential employees” with you on your shopping trip 🙂 Another great way to cut down on your stress and the congestion in the store is to avoid peak shopping hours. Everyone and their brother is trying to hit the store on their way back from the beach or after work. Go early in the day, closer to opening, or late in the evening closer to closing time, to avoid the massive rush.

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Our grocery store aisles are barely wide enough for two people to pass by. Save some space and some stress by leaving the crowd at home. (Dolphin Market)

Second, I always say, “The best way to go to the grocery store on St. John is without a plan.” During busy weeks, I stand by that statement even more. Chances are, you are not going to be able to locate everything you need at one store. Or possibly at all. I recall one time I was trying to make these really specialty cupcakes for a good friend’s birthday. I stopped at one store and then a second. And, bound and determined, I ended up at four different grocery stores in order to find all of the ingredients I needed. And even then, many of the items I purchased were modifications on what the recipe actually called for. It was frustrating, but the end product was delicious, So, if you can’t find exactly what you need, use a little flexibility and ingenuity to figure out an alternate route to the end product. Or, maybe switch gears and go with a new recipe all together 🙂 If you are not able to find everything that you need at your first stop, do the local thing and try the next one. Flexibility is key!

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Starfish Market – In the Marketplace

Grocery Stores on St. John:

  • Dolphin Market- Two locations. One in Cruz Bay at the traffic circle and one in Coral Bay in the Cocolobo Shops (behind Aqua Bistro).
  • Starfish Market- First floor of the Marketplace between Cruz Bay and the Westin
  • St. John Market- Now a third Dolphin Market, it is located across the street from the Westin
  • Love City Mini Mart- Between the Pink Corner and Salty Mongoose in Coral Bay
  • Calabash Market- South of Coral Bay between Salty Mongoose and Concordia
  • Midway Plaza- Located on Centerline Road between Gifft Hill and the VINPS sign at the entrance to Cathrineberg
  • Pine Peace Mini Mart- Tucked into the alleyway just behind Caravan Auto Parts at the bottom of the big hill that leads from Cruz Bay to the Westin.
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Calabash Market, Near Concordia

Third, be patient and cautious on the roads. There is a ton of construction going on right now. That, combined with an influx in traffic and the rush to the finish line for groceries and supplies, made traffic slightly unbearable yesterday (and likely through the week). But, it’s all good! Take your time and be conscious of your surroundings and other drivers and pedestrians. Together, we will get through this holiday week 🙂

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Traffic leaving Starfish – Photo: Dana & Landlubber Logistics (Turn up your music and keep smiling like Dana!)

Lastly, please, please, please, be kind to your cashiers. They KNOW that things are missing from the shelves and have likely been working round the clock to get them restocked during a busy holiday week. They have likely been dealing with a lot of upset customers judging by the way the shelves looked today. And these folks are working hard to make our holidays happen and are not responsible for the lack of sweet potatoes or cans of pumpkin that may be held up in shipping. So, please remember that Thanksgiving is not only about the meal on our table. But, more so, about the thanks that we are giving for the beautiful place that we are in and the people that we love who surround us. We are, after all, on island time 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of St. John Grocery Shopping During a Holiday Week”

  1. I’m constantly amazed at how much stuff is crammed into Pine Peace. They are our go to place for that last essential item. Last year it was formal napkins – not the thin, cheap packs of 250 but some seriously thick, big napkins that come in a 20 pack. There they were at Pine Peace! And they had five flavors of Triscuits, not just one! Amazing what you can find there.

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