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@Work: Lily's Gourmet Market


Aug. 25, 2005 – Lily's Gourmet Market's namesake was more interested in exploring than in the gourmet cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, wines, and more at Coral Bay's newest grocery store.
Lily Ali, who turns 2 years old in October, rates high on the cuteness scale. She charms visitors as she wanders in and out of the market while her parents, Sheila Sayyaf and Jacob Ali, tend to customers.
Lily's Gourmet Market opened at Cocoloba Shopping Center on Route 107 in June. It joins a handful of other smallish stores in the Coral Bay area catering to residents and the growing number of visitors finding their way to St. John's eastern end.
"Our prices are very competitive. We want everybody to be able to shop here," Sayyaf said.
If you watch prices (and who doesn't), use the St. Thomas Dairies reduced fat milk at $1.99 a half gallon as a benchmark.
Lily's Gourmet Market has specials advertised in St. John newspapers. Indeed, competition is getting keen for the St. John grocery dollar, and other stores are following suit. Previously, specials and advertising were rare events for St. John stores.
Ali said the store will have specials every week on a variety of items, including liquor and beer. Yellowtail merlot is this week's wine special at $6.99 a bottle.
The store is bright and airy, with the shelves stocked with basics like cereal, baby food and cleaning supplies as well as gourmet items like a big selection of Walker's shortbread cookies, Middle Eastern and Asian items, chicken breasts, fresh-baked breads and liquors. Cryo-packed seafood sits in the refrigerated cases. The store also carries cat and dog food.
Ali said that when the winter season arrives, the store will start making take-out sandwiches and add more items to the meat counter.
Ali said that fresh fruits and vegetables arrive on Tuesdays, a bit of information shoppers looking for the freshest produce should tuck away.
Sayyaf, who was born in Virginia, and Ali met in his native Jordan while she was a student. The two lived three years on St. Thomas, where they still operate a convenience store, Easy, in Hospital Ground. Ali said he has 10 years experience running grocery stores.
They moved to St. John six months ago.
Sayyaf said they've been well received by the community. "The people are very welcoming and very nice. They're tolerant and very accepting," she said.
Lily's Gourmet Market is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Call the store at 777-3335.

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