June 9, 2005 – Lorena Chiverton, owner of Kim's Restaurant on King Street in Christiansted, says, "First thing I do when I wake up is thank the Lord for waking me up. Then I thank him for waking everyone else up. I am happy to be alive."
Although she believes in work and doesn't mind putting 14 hours a day in at Kim's, the first place she goes is the gym.
"I believe in exercise," she says. "It keeps me in good spirits."
Chiverton's daughter, Sheryl Mosely, started the restaurant in 1991. It specializes in seafood and chicken.
Oddly enough, the restaurant is named after Chiverton's second daughter, who really did not spend a lot of time working there. "She was always tired or had to study." However, the restaurant got her name because she was small and the youngest of Chiverton's three children — and the restaurant was small.
The eldest daughter ran the restaurant with her mother helping out part-time until 1997. Then Sheryl went to the States, and Chiverton took it over full-time. Sheryl has settled in New Jersey, Kim in Florida.
Chiverton did not start her working life in a restaurant. She worked 22 years for lawyers in Christiansted, and then she spent another seven years as office manager of V.I. Title and Trust.
However, she knew she was destined for the business. "I love to cook," she says. When she was growing up in Nevis, she was always cooking, even at the age of nine. "Nobody would eat my cooking back then, except my mother. That is the duty of a mother," she laughs.
Her cooking back then got her into trouble. "I got beat. They thought I was going to burn down the house."
Chiverton has been on St. Croix since 1964 and has noticed a big change. "Back then, people were shoulder to shoulder," she says. "There was always a lot to do."
She used to look forward to going out every weekend. Now her life revolves around the restaurant, which is open every day but Sunday.
Not only does she do the cooking, she washes dishes, cleans up and does whatever is necessary. She does not like waiting on tables, "but if I am needed, I will do it.
"I am not one who sits back and lets other people do my work," she says.
Although there is room to expand, she said she has no intention to do so. Nor does she think about retiring, although she has been in the workforce for over 35 years. "I have never even given it thought," she says. "I can double what some of the younger ones do."
Success has not always been secure for Chiverton, and she says keeping the restaurant going is sometimes challenging. Many of her former workmates at the title office and at the lawyers' office predicted she would not last a year in the business. "They said I liked to dress up too much. They said I wouldn't like smelling like fish."
She adds that the teasing might help motivate her to keep going.
However, anyone watching her during an evening, getting the work done in the kitchen, interacting with customers and workers might conclude that Chiverton has plenty of motivation in herself and does not need any motivation from anyone else.
"I think you must like your work. From small, I liked to cook."
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