David Conro and Robin Eldridge are baby boomers. They grew up in small farming communities. Dave in the Catskill Mountains of New York and Robin in Northeast Iowa. Dave completed service in the Marine Corps. Robin graduated from college. Both set off for new adventures beyond the small towns of their youth.
Near the end of the last century, Dave and Robin were functioning workaholics living in Houston, Texas. Dave was employed as a Marketing Director for Fox Sports. Robin was employed as a paralegal in charge of due diligence for real estate acquisitions for Landry’s Seafood Restaurants, a national restaurant chain. On a fateful Thursday evening in May of 1996, they both attended the monthly meeting of TASS (Texas Association of Single Sailors). From there, the journey began. Although neither of their upbringings provided opportunities for learning to sail a boat, a strong work ethic, and hard-working natures were certainly instilled at a young age. And they shared a rambling spirit.
By the end of 1996, these two intrepid souls had purchased an ocean-going boat (a Taiwanese-built 47’ cutter-ketch sailing vessel named Intrepid), tied the knot as husband and wife, sold their home (and all material possession which did not fit on the boat), resigned from their jobs, moved aboard Intrepid, and were well underway on beginning their adventure.
A business opportunity for Dave in Brazil was scheduled to launch in a couple years. With that plan on the horizon, they completed the re-fit of Intrepid. In September of 1997 they sailed out of Galveston Bay bound for the Caribbean with plans to eventually sail on to Brazil to build the new business, make enough money to retire, and circumnavigate the globe on Intrepid.
The next two years were spent learning to sail while cruising the beautiful Eastern Caribbean. The journey included stops in the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Barts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Iles des Saintes, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, Grenada, Venezuela, and Trinidad. An adventure of a lifetime!
- Business opportunity in Brazil fell through
- Cruising kitty nearly depleted
- Work needed ASAP
Undaunted by the turn of events, in 1999 Dave and Robin set sail back to the U.S. Virgin Islands. They remembered St. John as the most beautiful of all of the islands they had visited (and knew they could find work without green cards). A great place to “drop the anchor”. Within two days of their arrival on St. John, Dave had secured a job as a painter for a small island construction company – Cimmaron Builders, Inc. When he assured his new boss that “my old lady can paint”, Robin also joined the crew.
In 2002, the owner of Cimmaron Builders decided he was moving back to the States. Using their meager savings, Dave and Robin purchased the business license and good will of the company and really went to work. Their first office, with no cell phone or internet, and a clunky desktop computer run off a generator, was on board Intrepid on a mooring in Coral Harbor.
Their business grew quickly and the office was moved to The LumberYard Complex in Cruz Bay. For seven years they worked to build the business and established Cimmaron Builders, Inc. as a major construction company on St. John. The focus of the business was renovation and remodels of vacation rental properties and included a full woodworking shop at Caneel Bay Resort. The quality of their work led to clients requesting them to also take on the maintenance and management of their St. John homes. By 2009, the construction business and the property management business became equal parts. The decision was made to close the construction business.
Cimmaron Property Management, Inc. was created. In keeping with their love of St. John and their desire to share it with others, a division known as CimmaronStJohn was soon formed to include booking the vacation rentals at their managed properties. What’s more, this extensive combination of building, maintaining, managing and rental experience makes Cimmaron the best choice for finding and buying a vacation home on St. John. The realty division of Cimmaron, Cimmaron Vacation Home Realty, provides professional and reliable services to buyers and sellers of vacation properties.
In 2016, to attract visitors to stop in and chat with their full-time local staff and learn the St. John experiences available to them, they moved their offices to a street side location in the LumberYard Complex.
It’s not a cornfield in Iowa (or upstate New York), but Dave and Robin truly believe “If you build it, they will come”. They continue to live their personal dream. And, through CimmaronStJohn, they look forward to welcoming others to their “paradise found” on the beautiful island of St. John.