It's Our 30th Anniversary!Posted November 15 2013
Sunny Caribbee Celebrates 30 Years of the Magic of the Caribbean
November 15, 2013 marks the 30th Anniversary of Sunny Caribbee Spice Company. Where does the time go?
On that day 30 years ago, with the assistance of one employee, Robert, Susan and Gregory Gunter opened Sunny Caribbee Spice Company, along with the adjoining production and packaging area. First located near the Road Town roundabout in the Raffy Stoutt’s Cosy Inn building, which was the first building constructed in this area of Road Town.
At that time, Road Town had a completely different atmosphere. The roundabout was the location of an open air Fish Market, and cows, donkeys, chickens, horses, goats and other wildlife made a daily parade through town. They often passed by our storefront, with the goats in particular, enjoying a buffet on the landscaping that we continually planted and replanted around the store exterior. We affectionately called it, “The Battle of the Goats”.
Some six years later, the store was moved to the historic Social Inn building on Old Main Street in Road Town. H.R. Penn renovated this classic West Indian style house and it was the perfect home for us. By coincidence, the Social Inn building closely resembled our company logo, a West Indian house. The Social Inn, the first guesthouse on Tortola, has enjoyed a long and storied history and the building in particular is vividly described by Martha Gellhorn (3rd wife of Ernest Hemingway) in her book, “Travels with Myself and Another”.
The first product line consisted of a small collection of various seasonings, spices, bush and flavored teas, sauces and craft items, all sourced from throughout the Caribbean. They would then be grounded, blended and packaged in our production facility, with all hands on deck!
From the outset, our all-purpose seasoning Herb Pepper Blend, a mixture of specially grounded black pepper, onion, garlic, dill, sage and other ingredients, was and remains to this day our single most popular product. In addition, two unique tisanes, West Indian Hangover Cure and its companion product, Arawak Love Potion, were introduced and have also remained a favorite.
Customers could come in and choose from some 80 different herbs, spices and teas, all sold by the scoop-size. A variety of hot sauces, from mild to “off the chart” heat, formed the beginning of our continually expanding range of condiments and marinades.
Over the subsequent years, numerous other products were developed (a number of which are credited to the fine cooks on our staff). Our Sunsations line of fragrances, cosmetic products and natural soaps was born, and the unique arts and crafts of the Caribbean found their way into our very own Art Gallery. Today our complete Caribbean Collection can also be found in our second Spice Shop at Soper’s Hole, West End, Tortola and online at www.sunnycaribbee.com.
During this 30-year period, there have been ongoing adventures, challenges, misadventures, shipping problems, comedy, mishaps, along with several revolutions and political upheavals throughout the West Indies. One entails a shipment of nutmeg that arrived for us with bullet holes in the bags. There are enough stories for a book or perhaps a reality TV series; “Keeping Up With Sunny Caribbee”.
Sunny Caribbee has been blessed to have such wonderful staff, most all of whom have been with us for 15 plus and 20 plus years. The “Spice Girls” (and men) are the folks who make the “Magic” happen here at Sunny Caribbee.
As we reflect on the past 30 years, we would like to thank everyone who enjoyed the Magic of the Caribbean, specifically the beautiful BVI for allowing Sunny Caribbee to “Put some Spice in your Life”.
To one an all we say thank you for your valued business with us and we hope to see you again soon in one of our Spice Shops or on the Web.
- Robert, Susan, Gregory Gunter and Staff of Sunny Caribbee
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