Customers crowd outside Cost-U-Less on St. Thomas as the doors opened at 7:30 a.m. Friday for the first time since Hurricane Irma two years ago.

ST. THOMAS — Customers flocked to the grand “re-opening” of the island’s Cost-U-Less on Friday morning, a stunning show of appreciation — and of demand — for a store brought to its knees by hurricanes Irma and Maria, and now fully recovered.

As early as 4 a.m., residents began lining up — some with chairs — to await the ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m.

— Contact A.J. Rao at 340-714-9104 or email