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This Week We Feature Young Professional Coleen L. Simmons

Moving back to the Virgin Islands five years ago after spending over a decade in New York, our Young Professional of the week, Coleen L. Simmons had one goal at the top of her list - opening an ice-cream parlour. Photo: VINO
Today, she is fondly referred to as the ice-cream lady, not simply for the guilty pleasures on offer at her Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End, but also for the role that she occupies in the community. Photo: supplied
Today, she is fondly referred to as the ice-cream lady, not simply for the guilty pleasures on offer at her Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End, but also for the role that she occupies in the community. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
One of Coleen's creations made at the Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End. Photo: supplied
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road. Photo: VINO
By Ron M. Henry

Moving back to the Virgin Islands five years ago after spending over a decade in New York, our Young Professional of the week, Coleen L. Simmons had one goal at the top of her list - opening an ice-cream parlour.

It was one of her pet peeves that she wasn't able to find the kind of ice-cream in her homeland that soothed her cravings so she worked diligently at setting up her own business on this front.

"That was my passion and I turned it into my dream shop now," Coleen related, "so I get excited when I go in there now because my thing is, it happened, I did it."

Today, she is fondly referred to as the ice-cream lady, not simply for the guilty pleasures on offer at her Cocolicious Ice Cream Parlor that is located along the Blackburn Highway in East End, but also for the role that she occupies in the community.

Coleen, who is herself a native of the nearby Long Look area, has become much like a guidance counsellor to many of the youths in the community who often come by the parlor simply to chat her up about the details in their lives and to share some of the troubles they face daily.

She happily serves up a scoop of advice with each order of a banana split or ice-cream sundae and looks on with fulfilment as she sees the fruits of her labour both on the business end with the flood of customers that come in and also with the many young lives she is able to touch.

Opening her business was a gamble that took much courage to accomplish and she beamed with pride while relating that persons come from as far as the USVI and Jost Van Dyke to sample the flavours of her little ice-cream shop.

Rewinding to her time in the US, Colleen started out as a sales clerk at the Athlete's Foot Shoe Store where she became a Manager in less than six weeks. She continued there for some time but later decided to follow her dream of teaching at a local Junior High School.

There, she taught special education classes while working with students who have disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism. Coleen realised much later that this was to prove a training ground for her own personal life as her son was also diagnosed with ADHD.

"I thank God for the fact that I was allowed to teach these kids because now I know how to reach my own," the mother of two said.

Coleen had earlier started Hunter College but dropped out due to financial constraints even though she had received a partial scholarship at the time. Having a brother and sister that needed her support, along with a single mother to assist, she felt the urge to venture into the world of work much earlier than she had planned.

She described the situation as challenging and said her medical condition made things all the more difficult as she tried to forge her way.

Currently studying Finance at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, Coleen is laying the platform for even greater prowess in her own business ventures. Her decision to go back to school is centred on her belief in ensuring that each new step she takes is informed, educated and passion-driven at the same time.

Her entrepreneurial savvy has also seen her extending into the arena of hospitality management and today she also runs the family owned El Zarro's Guest House situated along the Ridge Road.

Overlooking an incredible view of the Josiah's Bay area, El Zarro's has become a favourite stop of many tour guides who take visitors to see the incredible panorama that guests of the establishment are able to savour as their own whenever they check in.

Above everything else though, it is clear that Coleen has an incredible sense of self-belief and a deep rooted faith in God and this has helped to propel her to the success that she continues to achieve so regularly.

It is this never say die attitude that allowed her to come through the nightmare (as she described it) of working in the cold climate of New York and persevering to open two businesses in the Virgin Islands and setting her sights on doing even more.

Coleen advises that youths should always try to achieve anything that they are really passionate about or have dreamed about realising, "I've learnt that without a vision, you can't get anywhere," she explained. "My advice to youths would be don't be afraid to dream, and when you're dreaming, don't be afraid to act on your dream," she said.

One of the enduring lessons she tries to pass on to young persons is to never despise their small beginnings as with every dream, one has to start somewhere.

"By biggest thing was not being afraid to do anything. never be afraid to do anything because with God all things are possible. You're never alone in this world," Coleen shared.

25 Responses to “This Week We Feature Young Professional Coleen L. Simmons”

  • high hope (13/12/2013, 08:47) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is great stuff young local entrepreneur kudos coleen
    • Marie Blyden (13/12/2013, 09:46) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      Wow Coleen, good for you, such a hard worker and even teaching her children how to be business entrepreneurs. This goodness will trickle down for generations. I know her mother is proud. Congratulations.
    • Abby (14/12/2013, 19:17) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      OK EVERYONE, NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO......GO! Eat your bellies full. Let's support our young daughter. Good luck to you.
  • ccc (13/12/2013, 08:51) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    another good pick VINO go girl!
  • cousin (13/12/2013, 09:12) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    i love it when a plan come through GOD BLESS
  • Sugar Pie (13/12/2013, 09:31) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Keep soaring high Ms. Coleen. Remember to give thanks to the Almighty.
  • farmer brown (13/12/2013, 10:59) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    What a sweet smile congratulations to you coleen
  • great (13/12/2013, 11:50) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    I don't know the young lady, but I never knew that there was such a splendid ice cream parlor that can give great creations comparable to Cold Stones (which is the greatest)! Now that I know, I will definitely drop by. thanks VINO for promoting this and getting the word out. Miss Simmons you have a new customer from this weekend. By the way. I'm trying to figure out the location of the ice cream palor. Directions please!
  • talent (13/12/2013, 13:01) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree that is another great pick. It is good to see the number of talented and professional people being highlighted.
  • the rock (13/12/2013, 13:18) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    great oic vino she is kool too!
  • cocolicious customer (13/12/2013, 13:57) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    Congrats Coco!! Keep representing the EAST, you are talented and may God continue to bless you, your family, your businesses and any future endeavors. @ great, I agree with the comparison to Cold Stones, she bad for real! The parlor is in East end right between brothers car wash and natures way (east) hope that helps.
  • Coco's Ice Cream (13/12/2013, 14:44) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great, Coleen's Ice Cream Shop is located in Fat Hogs Bay, the 2nd building on your left after YEP..the yellow 3 story building. Her shop is on the first floor on the right as you come up the stairs. You'll see her sign Coco's Ice Cream on the rail.....

    As someone who's had her shakes and ice cream, they're Gr8!!
  • Lioness (13/12/2013, 15:36) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    I just want to say im from Nevis, and live in Nevis and i'm always on this site mostly for research purposes for my work. I look forward especially to Fridays to see who the next young professional will be. i love all the features...congrats and I will keep reading!
  • kevin (13/12/2013, 16:37) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    just love to see my people doing well
  • teacher john (13/12/2013, 17:14) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    I love that photo with the black dress beautiful
  • vern (13/12/2013, 19:22) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Sorry I cannot indulge in that great looking ice cream since I am Diabetic, but I wish her all the best and success. Much love.
  • ShaSha (13/12/2013, 21:06) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ teacher john she does look nice, keep smiling sis. Congrats Coco
  • virgin gorda (13/12/2013, 21:09) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    that ice cream look nice...good job Ms. Simmons
  • jvd crew (14/12/2013, 02:21) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Coco!!!!! Congrats!
  • JAM DOWN (14/12/2013, 08:22) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Wow!!! That's the gal who run in da early morning. Nice lady she full of manners. Every time me see she she always a smile, yes body nice my girl keep up the good work.
  • wise up (14/12/2013, 15:26) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    sweet looking black lady; i am in LOVE!!!!!!!!
  • Nelly (15/12/2013, 00:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Congrats cuz!!! Sooooo proud of you and glad you're finally getting some recognition for what a great person you are!!! Love you!!!
  • SIS (16/12/2013, 22:00) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    life without God is nothing! My God continue to bless you and keep you.
  • always late (05/01/2016, 15:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hey classmate it's nice to see you. you look so happy and I see you're doing great things. keep up the good work. Much success in all that you do.


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