STT/STJ Chamber’s “Business After Hours” Draws Crowd

Networking St. John Style

St. John business people joined St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce members and enjoyed scrumptious appetizers by chef Paul Trujillo at Paradiso Restaurant on Thursday, October 11, The function was an effort to revitalize the organization’s St. John Chapter. St. John Tradewinds News Photo by Eliza Magro

St. John business owners have started to flex their collective muscles with the re-invigoration of the St. John chapter of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce.

After St. John Tradewinds hosted the first Business After Hours on island in May, chamber members continued the push to energize the island’s business people at a Thursday evening, October 11, soiree at Paradiso.

Organizers are trying to establish a distinct St. John chapter of the St. John/St. Thomas Chamber of Commerce, explained Kate Norfleet, of Kate N Design Inc., the local chamber board of directors’ St. John representative.

“There has never really been a St. John chapter and over the years there have been varying degrees of involvement and awareness in the St. John community of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce,” said Norfleet. “Past directors have been Winston Bennett and Jose Penn who have contributed a lot to the group.”

Push for Chapter
“But this time, since there has been so much growth and there are so many new businesses on island, it seems to be the right time to create a St. John chapter of the chamber,” Norfleet continued.

The group hopes to inspire interest in the networking opportunity, according to Norfleet.

“The St. John Chapter will focus on St. John businesses and re-emphasize the contribution the community can make to the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber as a whole,” she said. “There is really no other business venue like this and there is a lot of networking going on that would help businesses grow.”

The business community stands to prosper from the collective, Norfleet added.

“All in This Together”
“This is about how important the businesses are and how we are tied to the economy — we are all in this together,” she said.


Chamber members and St. John business people crowded Paradiso for a St. John Chapter Business After Hours of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce.


Organizers envision the group drawing equally from private enterprise and public servants, explained the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce representative.

“We’re interested in having the St. John Chapter bring a private/public partnership which goes along with the governor’s philosophy,” said Norfleet. “He was a two-time president of the chamber and knows the importance of working together.”

All business owners are invited to join the group, no matter how large or how small, Norfleet added.

“It’s an opportunity for business people to gain exposure for enterprises and become involved in a chapter that will increase their networking possibilities,” she said.

With the help of a small group dedicated to re-invigorating the St. John presence in the local chamber, members are hoping to see results soon, Norfleet explained.

Focusing on Web Page
“Fraser Drummond, Debbie Hime, Jose Penn and Andy Rutnik have formed a great committee,” she said. “We are looking to increase the committee members and our big focus is for St. John to have its own Web page on the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce Web site.”

To join the St. John Chapter of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce or for more information, contact Norfleet at 693-9099 or check out email

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