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The End of an Era: Connections is Closing.

Connections has been the hub of the St. John community for more than 40 years.

It is with tremendous sadness that I share today’s story. Connections – the who, what, where and how of St. John – is closing after serving the St. John community for more than 40 years. This closing will undoubtedly affect those of us who live here and will change the dynamics of St. John life for years to come. Connections will officially close in May.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Connections, it’s the little pink building that sits on the corner near Cruz Bay Landing, the Lutheran Church, Longboard and Woody’s. It has provided mail services to countless residents over the years, business services like scanning, copying, a notary and Western Union, and a community bulletin board that has helped nearly every resident as some point during their time here. It was a place where you popped in to get advice, leads on a new place to live or work, or perhaps event a little island gossip by way of the Coconut Telegraph. And every time you walked through those glass doors, you were greeted by a smile.

Cid Hamling started connections in 1983 as a way for people to stay connected, hence the name Connections. The business started simply with a folding table and a working phone line, which was a pretty big deal in the early 80s. Back then you had to wait over six months to get a land line at home and it was next to impossible to secure a post office box on island. Cid provided a pretty simple, yet important, service – she enabled people to stay connected here on island and connected to their loved ones up in the States. She even brought St. John’s first fax machine to the island.

Cid Hamling

Cid continued to add services over the years, and in 1991, she opened a second location out in Coral Bay – Connections East. (She sold that location, which remains open, to Jennifer Robinson in 2015.)

As a newcomer to the island, the advice was always the same – check the wall at Connections, people would tell me. So that’s what I did. I would look at the community listings, which cost a mere $5 a month to post, to see if any new apartments listed for rent, to see who was hiring. It’s the place where I found my first island Jeep, the place where I printed my tax returns year after year, the place where I notarized my home’s closing documents. Take any big life event that happened here on St. John, and chances are that Connections was involved in some way.

After the storms, Connections continued to be the island’s lifeline by providing much-needed information to residents here on island and our loved ones up in the States. I will never forget the day that Bill Clinton visited St. John, five months after Hurricane Irma. Cid saw him outside of Connections, ran out and gave him the biggest hug I’ve ever seen. It was probably against former-President protocol (oops!), but it was a great moment to see.

Keeping the community updated on Sept. 22, 2017.
I think Cid’s hug threw the Secret Service for a loop!

As many of you know, I am a tour guide here on St. John, so it’s pretty common for people to ask me about the storms. But that doesn’t mean it’s always the easiest conversation to have. I remember asking Cid one day, maybe a year or two after Irma, when people would stop asking about the storms.

“When the next one happens,” she said to me with a smile.

Cid decided to retire in late 2020, but was certain to leave Connections in good hands when she did. She sold the business to Trista Sigler in November 2020, one of Connections’ Connectoritas!

Trista Sigler purchased Connections in November 2020.

Trista worked at Connections part-time, on and off, for many years and formed a great friendship with Cid along the way. When Trista lost her full-time job due to Covid in 2020, she returned to Connections, a position that soon evolved into a full-time gig. It was during this time that Cid asked her if she would be interested in buying the business. Trista was the perfect successor, a hard worker who loved Connections and understood its importance within the St. John community.

Sadly, Trista has only had the opportunity to carry on the business for a few years, as lease renewal issues have forced her to close. From what I have seen as a community member, Trista has done absolutely everything she could to keep the businesses open, but was unable to do so.

Connections is slowly ceasing services as it nears its closing date. Mail service will end on continue through the end of the month. And as I mentioned earlier, the business will close permanently in May.

If you love Connections as much as I do, or if you simply want to support a great business and a great businesswoman, you can purchase a tank, t-shirt or tote bag. You can purchase them online by clicking here. These items will be on sale online only through April 22nd.

I want to personally thank Cid, Trista and all of the Connectoritas who have helped me navigate island life over the years. Your contributions to this community have not gone unnoticed.

Not all change is good, folks. This closure will definitely leave a hole in our community.

Looking to take a St. John island tour?

Learn more here –> Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

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  1. Richie Mann

    Sadly, this is a sign of what STJ is becoming, the location of Connections is “prime” and I am sure the owner of the property is looking to make a large profit with whoever is buying it. Very sad for the residents of STJ what is happening to the once jewel of an island . Thank you connections for being the lifeline for so many over the years.

  2. Debbie in Indiana

    Very sad, indeed! Connections is/was invaluable. That’s where we went in Jan. 1997 to find a ride on a sailboat. They hooked us up with Neil Newhard and we sailed on the beautiful Hirondelle. Enjoyed our day and Neil was the best.

  3. Carlos de Yarza

    On our first full visit to STJ, this is where I went to print boarding passes (remember those?) when heading home. Still remember the kindness and assistance received. Will miss walking by it daily on our subsequent visits.


    “Lease Renewal Issues”… How many more businesses will be lost on STJ due to this reason??? Such a shame… greed dominates everything.

  5. Bal Hoeffner

    I remember sending a donation through Connections in 94 or 95 to help after Hurricane.. i received a handwritten thank you reflecting people helping others “that’s the St. John way”.
    A big peace of that will be missed.

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