Home Business St. John business @Work: O'Connor Car Rental

@Work: O'Connor Car Rental


Dec. 30, 2004 – Ask someone for directions from Cruz Bay, St. John to points outside of town and they'll no doubt include the Texaco gas station in their information.
This busy spot is located at the intersection of Centerline Road and Route 108, with schools, shopping centers and the road to the nearly-complete Enighed Pond commercial port close by.
In addition to the gas station, which former Sen. Robert O'Connor Jr. operates for Texaco, it's also home to O'Connor Car Rental. This thriving enterprise now has 50 vehicles in its fleet. Many of the cars are kept at the Westin Resort and Villas, where O'Connor holds the concession for car rentals.
O'Connor began expanding the car rental business started by his late father, Robert O'Connor Sr., in 1968. O'Connor took over operation of the Texaco Station in 1976 after the previous owners defaulted on their taxes.
The gas station, at that time the only one on St. John, had two pumps with a 3,000-gallon tank. Today, it has three tanks that hold premium, regular and diesel gas as well as six pumps.
O'Connor proudly notes that the tanks are double-walled to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.
The station also provides tire and battery repair as well as the ability to do minor maintenance jobs.
O'Connor credits two of his long-term employees, Sivillah Williams and Curtis Jackson, for helping the business grow. Both have been on hand for decades.
He still faces challenges, however.
"You've got to make sacrifices in order to build the business, but you've got to be patient," O'Connor said.
He said that he's emphasized service, which keeps the car rental customers returning to O'Connor year after year.
O'Connor said there's no such thing as an eight-hour day when you operate your own business.
"And you can't take money out of the business arbitrarily," he said.
O'Connor, 58, is a busy man. In addition to running the car rental agency and the gas station, he's developing a piece of land next to the police station into a two-story commercial center. And he has to keep tabs on his prime piece of real estate – the St. John Legislature building.
He's also keeping up with the Public Works Department's plans to build a roundabout on the gas station property. This means the gas station will have to move.
"Texaco wants to maintain a presence in St. John," he said.
He expects the station to move sometime in 2005.
However, O'Connor still finds time for slews of community activities. He's chairman of the V.I. Port Authority board, and serves on the boards of the Safety Zone and the Girl Scouts. Additionally, he's on the Judicial Disability Council.
And he served two terms – from 1987 to 1991 – as the territory's senator-at-large.
He went off to Charlotte Amalie High School, graduating in 1964, before spending a year at Hampton Institute and a year at Lincoln Technical Institute. He returned home to work for the Public Works Department's maintenance division in St. John and St. Thomas. He quit Public Works in 1980 to devote more time to his businesses.
He plays baseball, softball and dominos, and he's a member of the Lions Club, which provides an opportunity to travel throughout the Caribbean.
"I do enjoy a little travel," he said.
He also heads off to St. Croix to visit daughter Jarelle, 17. He had two sons who died.
O'Connor said that last month, his daughter convinced him to sponsor a baseball tournament at the St. Croix Educational Complex, which is where she goes to school.
"I enjoy being able to assist in the community," he said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here