Published: December 10, 2012
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The West Indian Company Ltd. will celebrate the company's one hundredth year of continuous service to the U.S. Virgin Islands this week.
WICO's Centennial Celebration will begin with a ceremony from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday on the West Indian Company dock. The celebration's theme is "A Century of Service."
The day's festivities will continue with the Centennial Musical Celebration with a free performance by Spectrum Band from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
"We are pleased to have been of service to the Territory for the past one hundred years," Joe Boschulte, WICO president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. "This is a significant achievement we all can share in and of which we can call be extremely proud."
The West Indian Company was founded on Dec. 12, 1912, by a consortium of Danish businessmen led by H. N. Andersen of the East Asiatic Company. The company was founded specifically to assist Denmark in bolstering the Danish West Indies economy at a time when assistance from the private sector was desperately needed to improve the islands.
Andersen, who had extensive experience in the shipping industry, believed St. Thomas could be a major refueling and provisioning port in the Caribbean when the Panama Canal opened.
During the last one-hundred years, WICO has played a key role in tourism and infrastructure development, contributing to progress and prosperity in the islands. Its accomplishments include:
- Construction of the West Indian Company dock and its facilities.
- Providing electrical service to Charlotte Amalie.
- Developing the K.C. Bay property on St. John that became Caneel Bay Resort.
- Introducing regular inter-island ferry service between St. Thomas and St. John.
- Opening Maison Danois, the territory's first tourist store.
- Developing the Long Bay area, including Pueblo Supermarket and Vitraco Mall.
- Maintaining the territory's largest inventory of building supplies and auto parts.
- Distributing American and European food and beverage products.
- Acting as an agent for various U.S. non-consumable brands including Esso and Dutch Master Paint.
- Acting as an agent for various visiting cruise lines.
Since its purchase by the V.I. government in 1993 for $54 million dollars, WICO has been locally owned, managed and operated.
Edward E. Thomas was its first native president, and served from 1993 to 2011.
More than 23 million visitors have visited the U.S. Virgin Islands on cruise ships between 1994 and 2011. The majority of those ships were berthed at the WICO dock.
The company's property management responsibilities include oversight of Havensight Mall and Port of Sale Mall, which have a diverse tenant profile of medical and professional offices; retail stores; bars; restaurants; warehouses; attractions; banks; a pharmacy; a fitness center; a post office; and a bookstore.
WICO's real estate portfolio includes 7 acres in Estate Liverpool; the governor's official residence in Estate Catherinberg;
11 acres of dock space; and 20 acres of retail space.
The company also is an active supporter of civic, community and cultural organizations and community educational activities, especially in the hospitality industry.
WICO has an eight-member board of directors. Boschulte was named as president and CEO in May 2012. The company has a staff of seventy-six employees.