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The definitive guide to living and working in the Cayman Islands
Sep 01, 2014 

Shopping Overview

Last updated: 30th August 2013

For many years Cayman has had a good selection of books, jewellery, watches, china, crystal, glass, cameras, electronics, computers, household goods and plants. But over the last few years major improvements have been made in the areas of furniture, artwork and stylish things for the home and kitchen; other strides have been made in the areas of clothing, shoes, resort and swim wear: you can now find a great selection of men's suits, and work shirts, as well as phenomenal swim-wear, resort-style island wear, lingerie and stylish evening wear for women. Other improvements have been made in baby and children's clothes, toys and supplies, so much so that a new mother can find everything she needs right here in Cayman. Not to be forgotten are the extraordinary strides that the farmers markets and grocery stores have made to the quality and variety of our food.

It is worth mentioning right from the start that many prices are a bit higher than overseas, though retailers try their best to keep prices fair. The reason for this is that Cayman's retailers have to ship every item into Cayman, pay 22% duty on the item (as well as on the cost of shipping it here), and then they have hefty electricity bills and high work permit fees, none of which their equivalent in the US or UK have to factor in. What local retailers are wonderful at doing is sourcing unique items from all over the world and they are not afraid to listen to their customer's wants and needs.

New shops are opening all the time. Slated to open in November 2013 is Caribbean Plaza, an upscale shopping centre opposite the Caribbean Club hotel on West Bay Road. It will have a nice mix of stores including three clothing stores, a wine boutique, a spa, restaurant, hair salon, pilates studio and more.

Shopping Categories:

Duty Free Shopping
Many luxury items such as jewellery, watches, leather goods and cameras are duty free as as well as being free from sales tax. (Editor's note: in this context, duty free means the Government has not added any import or customs duty to items when they are imported into Cayman, and tax free refers to the absence of any form of sales tax in the Islands). Without the mark-up of duty fees, sales tax, GST or VAT, island retail prices can be considerably less than in mainland countries.


When buying products in a duty free, tax-free market, there can also be pricing benefits that come directly from the manufacturers. Many luxury goods manufacturers fix the retail prices of their products and dictate that retailers do not sell them for less than the prescribed price. These are typically set according to country or geographic area. However, in duty free markets, manufacturers will generally allow retailers to give better pricing than customers might expect in their home market. It pays to shop around, particularly on Saturdays when there are usually no cruise ships in port and it is much quieter to shop in George Town.

Most major watch brands have representatives here, as do camera and jewellery designers (all duty free). Cayman's jewellery stores also carry a large selection of diamonds, with a great range of cuts and sizes from 0.25 carat to well over 10 carats.

Bicycles
Cayman has a very good selection of bicycles for sale for adults and children. The main supplier with the largest selection is Uncle Bills Home Improvement (Tel: (345) 949 7601). They also sell a large variety of bike-related products, accessories, lights and repair kits. Kirk Home Centre (Tel: (345) 949 2521 ) also sells a good selection of children's bikes. Both can be found on Eastern Avenue.

Bicycle Repairs

Sheldon Bike Repair
Tel: (345) 525 2020
Email: sheldonbikes@candw.ky

Uncle Bills Home Improvement
Eastern Avenue
Tel: (345) 949 7601


Buying In Bulk
The following are good wholesale stores if you are looking for bulk items like nappies, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towel etc. Priced Right and Cost-U-Less both sell an array of different items, from appliances and furniture to electronic equipment.

Cost-U-Less
Governors Square, 51 Lime Tree Bay Ave
Tel: (345) 745 5377

Priced Right

Two stores: Fosters Airport and West Bay
Tel: (345) 949 5155

Office Supplies
(See Running a Business section.)

Party Accessories
People in Cayman love to throw parties. Fortunately, there are several party supply stores and services available to serve your needs, regardless of the size of your event. It's Your Party (Tel: (345) 946 4453) located next door to Little Darlings sells a wide variety of party supplies and also rents bouncy castles and more. Party Source (Tel: (345) 947 2789) on Godfrey Nixon Way also sells and rents supplies for birthdays, weddings and corporate events. For large party supplies like tents, tables, chairs and more, try Massive Equipment Rental (Tel: (345) 949 7990) or Celebrations Ltd (Tel: (345) 623 2044).

Thrift Shops
There is a good selection of thrift shops on the Island selling a wide variety of nearly new items at a competitive price. They are always willing to accept donations of clothing, shoes and household goods, which are in good condition. They will then sell them on, or distribute to the needy within the community.

The Claws-It Thrift Shop

Clawset Thrift Shop is located above the Humane Society shelter. The shop sells clothes and shoes for the entire family, plus jewellery, handbags, school bags, housewares, and computers at bargain prices. Every dollar spent goes towards the many homeless dogs and cats at the shelter and helps find loving homes for them. Open Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm and Saturday 8am-4pm. 153 North Sound Road, Tel: (345) 945 5596, email: thriftshop@caymanhumanesociety.com.

National Council of Voluntary Organisations - New To You Shop
Clothing and other items are donated and sold for low prices to generate income. The shop has a wonderful supply of gifts and household items at very reasonable prices. Items of clothing, furniture and appliances are also donated to the needy throughout the community. Monday-Friday 3pm-5pm and Saturday 8am-2pm. 90 Anthony Drive, off Shedden Road, George Town, Tel: (345) 949 2124.

Red Cross Thrift Shop
The Red Cross Thrift Shop is open for the public to donate, as well as buy, new and gently used items such as clothing, shoes, furniture, appliances and more. The Red Cross uses the donated items and funds generated to help support the vulnerable in the community and assist victims of disaster, both at home and abroad. Pick-up of donations is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays and residents wishing to donate larger items (such as furniture) are urged to book a pick-up in advance of the date. They are open Tuesday-Friday from 9am-2pm and 5pm-7pm and Saturdays from 7.30am-1.30pm. Red Cross Headquarters, Huldah Avenue, George Town, Tel: (345) 949 6785 ext. 31, email: shop@redcross.org.ky.
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