After Nearly 30 Years at Wharfside, Low Key Watersports Debuts New Digs

Low Key owner Ann Marie Estes, left, poses in the new location with sales associate Natalie Sutton

The Low Key Watersports team packed up and said goodbye to their Wharfside Village beachfront location last month after nearly 30 years at the shopping center.

They didn’t have far to go, however. The company moved just steps from their old location to the new I Bay Street, the commercial building being constructed next to Grande Bay Resort by local real estate broker Roger Harland.

“There were circumstances at Wharfside that were no longer working in our favor,” said Ann Marie Estes, who co-owns Low Key with Bob Shinners. “We felt that instead of being negative about it, we wanted to take a positive stance and change.”

And the move, which was completed in November, has indeed proved to be positive for the water sports business. The contemporary look of Low Key’s ground floor location at I Bay Street, with polished cement floors and track lighting, will be accented by 18 30”x40” Steve Simonsen photographs featuring beaches and dive spots visited by Low Key, as well as vendors that work with the water sports business.

One of the most positive things about Low Key’s new location is the accessibility, Estes explained.

“There was no parking at our old spot, and during our time there, the Beach Bar grew right in front of us, really blocking a lot of our beach access,” she said. “People would meander through Wharfside and have a difficult time finding us. At our new location, we have clear ocean views, and when you stand on the patio, there are our boats, right out in front.”

Estes also lauded Harland’s design choices.

“It’s just so tasteful,” said the Low Key owner. “From the copper gutters to the tile roof to the marble bathroom, he spared no expense. I haven’t seen something of this caliber since they built Mongoose I.”

Easy access to the new Low Key location will help with efficiency, especially when it comes to picking up and dropping off oxygen tanks. While parking spaces are currently occupied by roof tile that has not yet been laid, ample parking will be available within the next two months, Estes explained.

With the new location comes new offerings, like a dive at French Cap, a dive at WIT Shoal and a Three Tank Safari, a trip that circumnavigates St. John and is ideal for groups with both snorkelers and divers.

Low Key continues to dive the Wreck of the Rhone daily, and the business has also started offering online snorkel gear rental, which tourists can do before they even arrive on island. Online gear rentals come with a 15 percent discount as an added bonus.

Low Key continues to carry top clothing and swimwear lines at its new location, including O’Neill, Teva, Reef, Maui Jim, DKNY, Speedo and the hot new Australian swim line, Sea Folly.

“We’re also the largest outfitter when it comes to basic masks, fins and snorkels,” said Estes.

The Low Key co-owner lauded her staff for a successful move.

“I couldn’t have done it without my great staff,” she said. “This was a team effort. I probably have the most highly qualified staff

I’ve ever had in 30 years, which is why we can offer so much.”

Estes approximated that the finishing touches on their new location would be finished within four weeks. For more information on Low Key Watersports, call the dive company at 340-693-8999.