Conch Shell House gains new owners

The renowned Conch Shell House, a house literally built of conch shells that is a popular tourist attraction, was recently purchased by George and Susan Craig.

Conch Shell House

Jennifer Grant-McCarthy, Fundraising Coordinator for Cayman HospiceCare, John Borgwardt, Hospice Manager, and Susan Craig, co-owner of BlueEyes Granite, sit on the bench in the front entrance of the famous Conch Shell House, the new location for BlueEyes Granite and Cayman HospiceCare. Photo: Anna Wootton

The Craigs have adapted the front of the house for the showroom of their new business, BlueEyes Granite. They donated the rest of the house to Cayman HospiceCare, the only palliative care provider in the Cayman Islands.

‘George bought the warehouse behind the house for BlueEyes Granite,’ explained Mrs. Craig. ‘After he bought it, someone said the Conch Shell House was for sale, and George bought it. I asked him what he was going to do with it, and then suggested using it for Cayman HospiceCare. I knew that we needed a new space.’

Mrs. Craig sits on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Cayman HospiceCare since its inception in 1998.

Cayman HospiceCare is a non-profit organisation that was founded, Mrs. Craig explained, because there was a desperate need for one on the island.

‘Everyone I know who has had experience with a palliative care program has talked about it as an absolutely life-changing experience,’ commented Mrs. Jennifer Grant-McCarthy, Fundraising Coordinator for Cayman HospiceCare.

‘I’ve had a lot of family members who have died of cancer,’ added Mrs. Craig. ‘I’ve experienced hospice in the US and knew it was needed on the island.’

The new facility will ensure that Cayman HospiceCare maintains its current standard of treatment, while also providing more room for such activities as board meetings, volunteer training, continuing education for nurses and a place for patients to sit and go in the garden and relax.

‘This will be, in addition to offices, space for the nurses,’ said Hospice Manager Mr. John Borgwardt. ‘And nurses can have more downtime now that we have hired extra staff.’

New business

BlueEyes Granite is a new business offering travertine floors, granite countertops as well as installation services. The saw that is used to cut the granite is as large as a small house and allows for granite to be carved into various shapes for installation. They have the largest selection of granite on-island, guaranteeing a 10-day turnover.

The business aims to serve both residential needs and commercial needs, and stemmed from an idea the Craigs had after developing some of their real estate projects.

‘We decided to cut out the middleman,’ explained Mrs. Craig. ‘We’ll actually be going to Italy this week to talk with the largest granite producer in the country. We’ll be importing from them in the future.’

As both enterprises prepare to flourish in their new location, an official opening will introduce the island to the new location, and the new purpose for the Conch Shell House.

‘We’ll be having a big celebration, catered by the Wharf, with all conch-themed food, of course,’ said Mrs. Craig. ‘We’ll also have steel drums playing and an official ribbon cutting. We want it to be a time of celebration.’

Mrs. Craig explained why she and her husband donated the house to HospiceCare. ‘It’s important to give back to your community.’