There are many ways to uplift local culture while also pleasing tourists. Let’s look at three local businesses that accompish this successfully with both pride and aloha.
Founded in 1958, Maui Divers Jewelry started as an undersea touring company in Lahaina before one of their fishing expeditions discovered Hawaiian Black Coral off Moloka‘i. They soon grew to become one of the leading manufacturers of precious coral jewelry in the world. They also feature Hawaiian Heirloom jewelry with designs that honor the tradition of this uniquely Hawaiian keepsake, engraved with names or phrases, and adorned with leaves, flowers and other traditional designs. Read more about them on thisweekhawaii.com.
Hilo Hattie, the person, was a beloved singer, hula dancer and comedian who performed for tourists locally and appeared in television and film. Hilo Hattie, the store, got its start in 1963 as Kaluna Hawaii Sportswear, a little grass shack on a stretch of road outside Lihue on Kauai. Today, you can find Hilo Hattie on Front Street in Lahaina, Maui. The 5,700 square foot store carries the largest selection of Hawaiian made goods and apparel on the islands as well as jewelry, bath and body products, footwear and island edibles. They’ve been voted by Hawai‘i residents as the “Best Place For Hawaiian Fashion” every year since 2001.
The family-owned Farmer’s Market of Maui has been bringing fresh, organic products to the Maui community for over 46 years, enabling local farmers and small businesses to share their produce and locally made products directly with consumers. Grandpa Wayne Nishiki built the concept up from a humble roadside stand to two permanent locations found in Kihei and Honokawai. He can still be seen there making his famous guacamole.
[A version of this article appeared in print in the pages of This Week Maui]