By Lindsey Turnbull
In March 2020, when Covid shut the islands down, Gay and Ed Morse took their dive boat to Grand Cayman for refurbishing. They had run Pirates Point Resort for the past 32 years, with Gladys Howard, and then her daughter, Susan, for the last five years. They had never stopped, from the time they arrived on Little Cayman in 1988 to run the resort, and like, many people, the stopping, gave them time to re-evaluate, and decide what they really wanted to do.
“I was woken from bed one night, and something said: do a coffee shop, a retail shop for Little Cayman,” Gay confirmed.
Ed agreed and off they went to buy land, make the building plans and starting the process of building.
“We did not want to start the resort all over again, since we built it back in the day (1988), when there were 13 people here, no stores, no condos and the road did not even go all the way around the island. If we were going to start over, it was going to be our own business,” Gay said.
The uncertainty of it all steered them in a completely new direction, to own their own business. Eighteen months later, the resorts in little Cayman are still waiting for tourism to open back up, so they ended up renting a 300 sq. ft. store in town (the only rental), and started their tiny coffee/ retail shop.
“It has done very well,” Gay said.
In the meantime, they started the building process.
With shipping so backed up, Gay confirmed it was challenging getting everything in, going to the dock to pick up items, etc. They began putting furniture together, and eventually, when the building was finished, they moved everything up to the new shop.
Gay said it was quite the process, but, having lived on Little Cayman for so long, “you just do things yourself, and get on with it.”
Thus, the new 1,600 sq. ft. Seahorse Boutique and Coffee Shop was born, with a fantastic, homely atmosphere. It is the same hospitality feel of the resort, brought down the road, Gay said.
“Everyone immediately feels a special relaxed feeling, which is exactly what Little Cayman is about.”
A huge back porch has tables and chairs for seating, a leather couch room has art on the walls for sale, and, once you step off the back porch, you are greeted with a two-tiered seahorse fountain, which you can hear as you lounge on the porch. There are also three further seating areas with coloured canopies, each individually designed. Mike from Southern Cross Club designed the signs and came up with all of the names for the canopy areas: Bookies, Break, Curly Tail Sanctuary, Rock Iguana Roost, and the leather couch room is called Land Crab Lounge.
There are walkways to the beach, where other shade cloths and chairs await and gorgeous trees by the road, that shade their bicycle rack. Trees along the natural walk way are amazing and the birds are there daily.
“That was the idea,” Gay advised. “Little Cayman is all about nature, so that is why we spent the time to hand clear it. As you get to the water, you walk through the Sea Grape trees and walk out onto the ironshore that goes a long way to the water. It’s a gorgeous view.”
Gay serves coffee, breakfast and lunch with a simple menu of sandwiches and salads, smoothies, and homemade ice cream, along with a hot meal.
“We are starting with only three of us, my husband and I, and Dianne Sherer, who was the chef at Pirates Point Resort with me, working side by side for nearly 20 years. We made a good team, and plan to do it again,” she said.
They are also piloting a recycle programme.
“We have bought an insulated bag, with a Tupperware piece inside. We are offering it to people, to buy, as a recycle bag, not only for our boutique, but if they eat out anywhere, they can use the bag, instead of taking a Styrofoam package away each time they eat out. I am hoping other people will mirror it, and there would be less packaging on the island,” she confirmed, adding when someone brings in their recycle bag, they will give them a dollar off per meal.
On the retail side, the boutique represents local artists and stocks a wide range of items, from customised Little Cayman coffee mugs to rash guards, mouse pads to jewellery.
It’s a gem of a place and well worth the visit the next time you’re lucky enough to be on ‘Little’.
27 Jan, 2020
15 Sep, 2021
15 Sep, 2021
15 Sep, 2021