One of the first things new AUC students (and spouses) do when we arrive on the island is to fill up our new homes with new groceries and supplies. But, where do we go? Here, I’ve compiled a list of some of the more popular grocery stores both near and far from AUC’s campus.
Within Walking Distance:
- Tung Yuen Supermarket — Cupecoy — Located between Papa Dan’s Pizza and BB’s Grill, Tung Yuen Supermarket is the closest grocery store to campus, just a few steps away. While not as nice or as big as Grand Marche or Gourmet Marche, it sells a lot of the basic groceries, produce, meats, canned goods, and stationery supplies that you may need. This place opened after I left the island, so most of what I know about this place is from this post by an AUC spouse.
- Le Gourmet Marche — Cupecoy — Only 15 minutes on foot from campus, this newly-opened grocery store is the closest descent grocery store from AUC. Located in Porto Cupecoy, it has a fresh fruits and vegetable section, dairy, wine, and meat section. The store is smaller, but quite nice inside and offers a range of gourmet products in addition to the usual. The price is the same as other Le Grand Marche and Le Gourmet Marche stores and the proximity to campus makes it very convenient. Plus, like all Grande Marche stores, Le Gourmet Marche offers 5% discount to AUC students. If you prefer not to walk, they also provide free shuttle service to and from the store! But make sure to tip them.
- Maho Market — Maho — This small grocery store in Maho has the usual processed foods, a small fresh fruits and veggies section and deli. As the store is located in a touristy area, the prices are a little bit more expensive but the close distance makes up for it all. Expect to pay close to $5 for a standard-sized box of Frosted Flakes. Walking from AUC takes about 30 minutes through the golf course, but I’d recommend taking the public bus there for $1, or catch a ride from that friend who happens to drive by and sees you waiting patiently at the bus stop.
Close (But Requires Some Driving):
- Le Gourmet Marche – Simpson Bay — This is another Le Gourmet Marche store in Simpson Bay. As there is a closer one near AUC, there is not much need to come to this store unless you live nearby. Fun Fact: if you live in Aquamarina, you can take the water taxi here to get groceries, but then again, you could also take a water taxi to the one in Porto Cupecoy, which is still probably closer! Like all other Gourmet/Grand Marche stores, AUC Students get 5% discount. Just show your ID.
- US Imports Supermarket – Marigot — This is the closest supermarket from AUC on the French side. It is located just past the drawbridge to get into Marigot. Park your car to the right, and walk across the street to the store. The store is quite nice and clean, and has most everything you need. Despite its name, it offers mainly French or European products. Like all grocery stores on the French side, everything is priced in Euros, and this may be the reason why it is not as popular among AUC students as its Dutch counterparts. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to get groceries when the Dutch businesses are on holiday or when traffic in Simpson Bay is getting you nowhere.
- Garden Market – Cole Bay – This is a nice grocery store with clean, fresh products, but everything is overpriced, as its main customers are tourists. I wouldn’t recommend it. You’d be better off driving up the road towards Le Grand Marche.
- Daily Extra – Cole Bay – If you want cheap grocery, this is the place to go. Look out for the building with yellow walls and green roof.
- Le Grand Marche – Cole Bay — This is the most popular grocery store among faculty, and the largest Le Grand Marche (and possibly the largest supermarket) on the island. Le Grand Marche in Cole Bay is closer, larger, and nicer than the one in Philipsburg but the one in Philipsburg is more popular among students because Cost-U-Less is right across the street. But if you don’t need to buy anything in bulk from Cost-U-Less, I’d recommend coming to the one in Cole Bay. If traffic is bad in Simpson Bay, try coming here via the French side. Like all Le Whatever Marche stores, AUC students get a 5% discount.
- Le Grand Marche – Bush Road — As I said before, this is probably the most popular grocery store among students since it is large, decently priced, offers 5% student discount and conveniently located across the street from Cost-U-Less.
- ACE’s Hardware – Cole Bay — This is quite a large store (and quite nice I must say) and has everything you need besides groceries, from bedsheets, mattresses, kitchen supplies, bathroom supplies, hardware, and more. Of all the home hardware stores, I recommend this one the most.
- ACE’s Hardware – Bush Road — This ACE’s isn’t as nice or as big as the one in Cole Bay, but still good nevertheless.
- Kooyman – Bush Road — This place is St. Maarten’s version of Home Depot or Lowe’s. It has all the home hardware you need… lightbulbs, paint, wall fixtures, you name it.
- Cost-U-Less – Bush Road — This store is similar to a Costco where you can buy in bulk, except there is no membership required. Like Costco or Sam’s Club, Cost-U-Less do not bag your groceries so either prepare to bring your own shopping bags or use the free boxes they have at the front of the store.
- Kwik Bargain — Bush Road– Kitchen Supplies, bathroom amenities, and more. It is just up the road from Cost-U-Less. The staff is very helpful and hospitable.
- Sang’s Supermarket — Philipsburg — If you want Asian groceries, Sang’s is your place to go. There are many stores on the island that offer Asian products, but Sang’s is the only store I’ve found that offers more than the usual, like medium-grain rice (“Chinese rice”). I bought a 50-lb bag of Nishiki rice here and I’m set for the rest of my stay on the island. Besides ready-to-eat pickled jellyfish, frozen shumai, and Thai curry paste, they also offer the usual non-Asian groceries, but there are other places closer to campus where you can purchase these. To get to Sang’s, drive down Bush road (road where Cost-U-Less is on), and keep going through Philipsburg until you hit the end. Then, take a right and drive towards where the cruise ships dock. You’ll see Sang’s on the left.
- Sunny Foods — Philipsburg — This grocery store is one of the most popular among the locals of St. Maarten. No tourists here. They offer cheaper prices on groceries, and a more local favorites. They sell mango lassi by the gallon! To get to Sunny Foods, drive down Bush road (road where Cost-U-Less is on), then once you pass the bridge and see the traffic light (one of the few on the island), take a left and go straight. Sunny Foods will be on your right.
For your enjoyment…