St Thomas’ newest cigar lounge had just opened when the pandemic hit.
But as small businesses are rebranding, restructuring, and in some cases permanently closing due to COVID-19, The Pelican Shop is taking to the internet to innovate.
After finding himself in a similar position to millions of small business owners, founder Akil Petersen says he began looking for new ways to remain open during the global pandemic by launching a video blog series over cigars, “Shop Talk.”
“Considering the times, I remain optimistic as a new business owner with employees because we were able to gain loyal customers in the short time we opened prior to the shutdown,” said Petersen, Founder of The Pelican Shop. “Cigars may not be a seen as essential, but the Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf who were flocking to the shop were a real community.”
According to Peterson, Shop Talk has become “a sanctuary” for those who miss the fun atmosphere bartenders and seating of The Pelican Shop, which is located in the AH Riise Mall on the Waterfront, in Charlotte Amalie.
The good news? The Pelican Shop has already reopened, in compliance with the US Virgin Islands’ local ordinances and safety measures.