Molly’s Tropical Boutique expands with the new Molly’s Man Cave | Company
It can be difficult to find many options in the Virgin Islands when it comes to men’s clothing. That’s why when offered the opportunity to open another store at Caravelle Arcade in Christiansted, St. Croix, Molly and Ed Buckley, owners of St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures and Molly’s Tropical Boutique, jumped on the opportunity to open Molly’s Man Cave, their new tropical boutique for men.
The couple met while working at a Caribbean subsidiary of Eastern Airlines. When the airline closed, neither wanted to leave Sainte-Croix. Ed Buckley was a NAUI instructor (Molly Buckley was his first student) and she had a retail background from college, so they started working for what was then the oldest dive shop on the island. , VI Miscellaneous, Ltd. They tried to buy the business themselves, but the deal didn’t go through and they opened their own St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures at Caravelle Arcade in downtown Christiansted in 1998, offering adventures scuba diving. They also have a second location in Frederiksted.
Over the next two years, they had the opportunity to open the next bay. They knocked down part of the wall towards the boardwalk and created a bigger t-shirt store. The Buckleys then opened ScuBoutique, offering slightly more women’s clothing, swimwear, travel wear and lines such as Columbia Sportswear.
“What we found out was that because it was called ScuBoutique, the women didn’t want to come in because it was a ‘scuba’ store and they were literally dragging their husbands out the door and not Didn’t enter because it was just a dive shop. Back in the day when the diving came in everything was smelly neoprene and they didn’t realize what cool t-shirts we had on.
They changed the name from ScuBoutique to Molly’s Tropical Boutique in 2019, adding high-end clothing and getting rid of some of the “chachkie stuff.” That same year, the Caravelle Hotel and Casino decided they wanted more space, and Molly had her eye on the space next to the dive shop.
“We created a new Molly’s so the walls were separated, and we immediately increased business by about 30% because it’s a boutique, not a dive shop,” Molly Buckley said.
The dive shop was remodeled to its original size and Molly’s Tropical Boutique became a 1,200 square foot boutique.
In December 2021, another opportunity presented itself. The woman who owned Wildflower Boutique, also in Caravelle Arcade, was closing up shop and the space was offered to the Buckleys.
“We started to think about what we were going to do with it, and I realized there hadn’t been a men’s store in Christiansted since Tom Miller had a men’s clothing business in the Caribbean in the early days. 1990s. We decided that’s what we would do,” Molly Buckley said.
Molly’s Man Cave opened in April and had a grand opening in mid-June.
Although opportunity seemed to be knocking at the door, it was not without its share of ups and downs. Expanding a business during the pandemic was not without risks. The dive shop accepts advance bookings and had already booked a number up until Christmas. When the government temporarily shut down businesses in March 2020, they had to repay nearly $100,000 in the first two weeks.
The scenario was reversed the following year.
“The Virgin Islands was one of the few islands that had the COVID protocol they were comfortable with and people started to travel,” Buckley said. “All the mooring boats and yachts that used to go to Anegada and Anguilla and all those places started coming to St. Croix. We have benefited enormously from it, and this is how the Man Cave was born. I think, in my opinion, it turns into something like a US state park. It’s hard to get to, it’s expensive, but you just want to be there.
Since its opening, Molly’s Man Cave has received a positive response and regularly adds new brands, with names such as O’Neill, Bamboo Tee, Pelagic, Alukai shoes and Howard Brothers. If a customer has a size that is difficult to fit, Molly’s Man Cave will order what they want in the size they need.
“The Tommy Bahama we’re bringing will be office wear and we’ll have a lot of popular lululemon fabrics this season, so you’re going to have your preppy pants,” Buckley said. “It will look like swim shorts, but they don’t look like swim shorts. The new lines we will be rolling out by the end of the year will be for the office, for going out to dinner, traveling… We call it ‘work to waves wear’, where you can go surfing in the morning and then go to your quarter bartender. You can still wear the same clothes because everything is SPF and dries quickly and does not sweat.
For more information, call 340-773-5739 or visit stcroixmollys Instagram and Facebook pages.