Mr. Hull, also known as Jah Lucia, is the owner of One Love Gift Shop in Cane Garden Bay, which was destroyed after Hurricane Irma and rebuilt. The opening date has not yet been announced. Below are his words, condensed and edited by Claire Shefchik.
“One Love” is because I give love. Everything I do I like to give it with love. [The shop] is next to Myett’s in the park. It got damaged and the government rebuilt it. They already did. Right now I’m waiting on my insurance to clear. I’m supposed to get a call tomorrow from the adjustors to settle my claim, and as soon as I can get all of that straight, One Love will reopen.
I was born in Tortola and I spent most of my life in Cane Garden Bay. How I spent my best time growing up was going hunting: going up into the mountains, picking fruit in the summertime, picking mangoes. I was very young and my mom couldn’t afford getting us things like other families do. I washed cars growing up. Sometimes I would go to Rite Way and wash the boss’s car and I never let him know I was going to wash his car, but I stood by his car when he was getting ready to leave, and then he paid me. Then I picked mangoes and sold peanuts in the summertime, you know, so you have your money to go back to school and buy your own uniform.
My business is customer service: selling souvenirs, t-shirts, crafts, shades, magnets, beach toys. The shop has been going since 21 years now. In my shop, it’s all about having a little smile, a little gratitude. You’ve got to be kind to keep the business going because chances are I’ve made most of my money from repeat customers. If I wasn’t good to them when they were there they would never come back to me. You always have to be fair to whoever comes up to your business because you never know how they’re going to like the island. Some people might want to make the Virgin Islands a vacation home every year. So what you can depend on is one year you might have come the same customers. You got to try to attract them to come back and enjoy it.
Right now I’m doing a little bit of building. Yeah, that’s not my thing, but most likely everyone has to deal with construction of the land until the tourists come back, and all the boats. We’re all waiting for them, you know? So everyone has to take up something until tourism comes back. But as soon as it gets back on track I’m going to get back into my business stronger than ever. I’m just waiting for my claim. When I get my claim I don’t know if I’m going to have to borrow but as I get it I’m going to have to give up my construction work at least for now because I already made reservations to get back on this island my goods, my stock and everything. It’s been hard to get magnets, postcards and t-shirts, but mostly [to get] crafts and jewellery.
I’m rebuilding my home and right now I’m staying at a friend’s home until I finish rebuilding my home. Well, I mean, your own is your own. But when you go home and you won’t be able to stay there because it’s not comfortable, you have to go. It’s good when you have your own so that you can be more stable.
My dog’s name is Sugar. I love my dog, man, more than I love myself. She’s three years and seven months old. I bought her from one of my competition next door that I do the same business like I do in Cane Garden Bay. So my best friend is my dog right now. I don’t have a girlfriend after I lose my girlfriend in February to liver cancer. I haven’t got a girlfriend as yet because she was such like an angel sent from God to me. It’s so hard to get another girlfriend. She was a special girl and they don’t have much ladies like that in Tortola. So I’m waiting until God sends me someone good. It’s better when God sends you someone.
I love tourism. I was born here and I know a lot of people have problems with tourism. But they’re not doing the right thing. I love people; I love to smile; I love to appreciate them; I love to give back. And this is a job where I can show all my love. In my business, I put all my feelings toward that.