On a recent hunt for a local source of essential oils (that did not involve a folding table and a Rasta guy outside of Kmart) several people asked if I’d been to the natural foods store. Yes, of course I’d been there. No, not the orange one between Pueblo and Thai Pro Nails, they’d say. The one across from the post office. The one I thought was a sketchy convenience store that I joked about being people’s source for illegal drugs. I mostly thought that because I judge books by their covers, and this cover had bars on all the doors and four open signs hanging up, lest you think the building is condemned. I also thought you could buy drugs there because over the door in uneven, sticky letters it said “DRUG MART”. I mean, when you go the extra effort of labeling yourself that way, what else is a girl to think?

drug mart post pic_WWLOR

But on the hunt for essential oils to make my homemade cleaning supplies smell like a spa day, I decided to branch out. To Drug Mart I went. Inside I was confronted with mismatched shelving, missing tiles in the linoleum floor, Five-Hour Energy, and lottery tickets. Suspicions confirmed. But wait. No. A closer look at the mismatched shelving showed rows of natural vitamins and supplements (the legal health food kind). Unexpected. Turning the corner of the long, L-shaped interior, there was organic, unbleached flour and grains. Completely unexpected. And then in the very back, right under a wall of weave, were three shelves of Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning supplies. Score. There was even an eleven-ish year old boy following me around, I’m pretty sure to make sure I didn’t steal anything. But he did also continue to ask if I needed help, so maybe he was just being overly helpful.

drug part post pic 2_WWLOR

I only know of one other place on St Thomas where Mrs. Meyer’s is available. So, in spite of the small boy following me around to make sure I didn’t slip any basil-scented floor cleaner into my purse, I took my time smelling up the goods and settled on a geranium candle to make washing dishes not such a terrible chore. At the register, the very nice owner told me my candle was buy one get one free. Drug Mart even does promotions! I complimented his store and told him I’d never been in before. He asked me if I knew what Whole Foods was. “We’re just like Whole Foods. Without the meat.”

When I left I noticed that above the DRUG MART stickers there was actually a natural foods sign. I guess I had just always been too distracted by the bars to notice it. Drug Mart, I like you and your island ways. I will be back.

drug mart post pic 3_WWLOR

Written By:

Melissa Rogati

Current Rock of Residence:

St. Thomas, USVI

Island Girl Since:

2003

Originally Hails From:

Georgia

Melissa is a St. Thomas, USVI-based 30-something and a 10 year island veteran who can’t endure even the smell of shrimp. It all stems from a childhood experience where a beloved grandfather told the once shrimp-loving four year old that shrimp was “yucky”. Her husband has requested multiple times that she undergo exposure therapy on the issue, but she refuses out of tribute to her grandfather. Melissa started her island adventures on a sparsely populated outer island in the Bahamas before moving further South to the “big city” of St. Thomas a few years later. The early island experience of dependence on a weekly mail boat to bring supplies (and the lack of Target) cultivated a realization that you can make almost anything you need. That means you can regularly find her feasting on fresh baked bread and homemade peanut butter and jam.

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