Tasha Santana of Santana Sports sees sports as a vehicle through which kids grow. She has watched many of her customers excel in sports locally and go on to represent the Aloha State in college and professional sports.
Small businesses like Defend Hawaii had a double whammy hit when COVID hit. Not only were the stores which sold their products completely shut down as per state mandate, but also massive supply chain disruption dramatically impacted their ability for online sales.
MOUNTAIN VIEW FARMS
David Wong, manager of Mountain View Farms in Waianae, has seen the domino effects of the pandemic and its corollary shutdowns and restrictions. As a producer of local pork, moringa, and other crops purchased by many of Hawaii’s restaurants and hotels, the farm has suffered significant losses.
MAD TIGER ACADEMY
Eric Goo of Mad Tiger Academy has been in the fitness and martial arts industries for over 20 years. This is his life’s work… His Wahiawa-based training studio, Mad Tiger Academy, provides an outlet for kids and adults alike to learn and hone their martial arts craft and to get and stay physically fit.
SPIRITS OF ALOHA
Felicia Alves, owner/operator of Spirts of Aloha, worked her last event on March 15, 2020. She has spent the last 9 months, watching and waiting… With her business being in “Tier 4” of the Oahu Tier system, there is no end in sight in her personal waiting game.
Jason Kalani, owner of Kapolei Karaoke, sold his home, cashed in his savings, and put everything he had into the opening of his business. He built every facet of the business from the ground up, with his own hands.
AULEA SWIM CLUB
Joe Glenn has seen first-hand the massive collateral damage that the COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions have had on the kids he coaches.
When you run a small business, particularly a small business in the ohana-focused state of Hawaii, your employees become your family. When you are put into a position of having to lay off an employee, it’s the equivalent of cutting off a member of your own ohana.
SIMPLY KENNELS AND TRAINING
For a business like Simply Kennels & Training, though they were “essential” and able to operate through the pandemic, they quickly found when COVID hit that 50% of their business evaporated. Without people traveling, whether to the mainland or neighbor islands, there was a dramatic drop in demand for dog kennel services.
Shane and Mimi Andjelic-Davies own 3 of the F45 Studio franchises here on Oahu: F45 Training Hawaii Kai, F45 Training Kahala, F45 Training Kapolei West. Right now on Oahu (November 9, 2020), we are in Tier 2, which means their studios can operate at 25% capacity.
A CAKE LIFE
“Sometimes things get hard, but there’s always something we can do to get through it…” Kristin Kato Kristin Kato, owner of A Cake Life, started 2020 full of hope and excitement about this year being one of the best years ever for weddings in Hawaii. COVID hit and all that evaporated… At five months pregnant, Kristin was hit with the major shock of COVID and the multiple aftershocks of the shutdowns.
Gyms like Rainbow Gymnastics provide opportunities for local youth on a variety of skill levels. For recreational gymnasts, this gym provides a space for learning, exercise, fun, and confidence building. For competitive gymnasts, this gym provides the training ground and the coaching to prepare them for national and collegiate competitions and for qualifying for NCAA scholarships. Gymnastics, like other sports and recreational activities, help kids grow physically, socially, and even emotionally.
LANIKAI BREWING COMPANY
“I can’t count the sleepless nights…” Steve Haumschild, Lanikai Brewing Company Steve Haumschild is a creator by nature and an adaptor by necessity. Entrepreneurs, like Steve, not only know HOW to adapt, but they were BORN to do so. That’s part of the DNA of an entrepreneur. What drives Steve and the Lanikai Brewing ohana is a desire to create a space that locals and tourists alike can visit, a gathering place that gives them a distinctive experience of Hawaii with uniquely local attributes.
Zoe Lash Pro
Deidre Harvie of Zoe Lash Pro is frustrated with the Tier system. Because estheticians fall into Tier 2, she and her colleagues have been shut down since late September. The Tier system sadly sows division within the beauty industry as hair stylists and nail technicians are allowed to operate in Tier 1 while lash artists, waxing professionals, and estheticians are not.
Da Braddahs, Tony Silva and James Roache, have made the people of Hawaii and others all around the world laugh for decades. Today, laughter is needed more than ever, but they have very little opportunity to provide that service and to exercise their craft in person. There’s something very special and mutually life-giving about working with a live audience, and they miss that…terribly.
Thomas Ray, a partner in Square Barrels and Heiho House restaurants, is concerned about the state of his restaurants, but he’s also concerned about the state of our local community, as a result of repeated shutdowns and continued restrictions.
HNL JIU JITSU
Kayle Quinn of HNL Jiu Jitsu Academy has his reservations about the Tier system, not the least of which being his industry is not even represented! Jiu Jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that is, by its very nature, high touch. It’s not something you can do solo. It’s not something you can do “online”.
Retail stores like Happy Wahine, which specializes in locally-designed products, have a customer base that thrives on the visual, tactile, kinesthetic in-store experience of their products. That’s not something that can easily translate to an online platform. Much of the “joy” or “excitement” of the purchase is lost.
“We’re dangerously teetering on economic disaster and I don’t know if they’re really worried about that…it scares me.” Keli’i Gouveia Keli’i Gouveia, General Manager of Duke’s Waikiki, knows firsthand what it’s like to have to let go of literally hundreds of employees at a time. Duke’s is an icon in the landscape of Waikiki, beloved by tourists and locals alike. While they attempted to pivot to a take-out only model during the first shutdown, they quickly realized it really wasn’t feasible in their individual situation and ended up shutting down altogether during that time.
Lyn Valeriano and Jake Acedo, independent stylists at The Foundry, a collective salon in Kailua, approach their work not as a job, but a calling. Every opportunity to work with a client is an opportunity to serve, to listen, to leave their clients feeling cared for and beautiful.
Jason Takemura, owner of Bamboo Catering, has found the Tier system on Oahu leaves him without clarity. He doesn’t see where exactly catering fits into the system. He further doesn’t see us EVER getting to Tier 4. Jason’s been able to pivot, somewhat, producing to-go family meals that allow him to keep his staff employed 3 days a week. He considers himself blessed to be able to do that, but it’s nothing near the kind of business he was doing before, with weddings and events every week.
FLEXX FITNESS HAWAII
Flexx Fitness Hawaii was fortunate to have a very accommodating landlord who allowed them to move their equipment outside. Thankfully, they are still able to generate some income to pay their bills and accommodate their members. But the majority of gyms and personal trainers in Hawaii don’t have that option. With exercise being so tied into physical, mental, and emotional health and with social distancing and sanitation easily managed in a gym setting, shouldn’t indoor gyms be able to operate?
FROM ABOVE ENTERTAINMENT
Wes Nakano of From Above Entertainment is known throughout the wedding industry for his incredibly positive energy and the high vibe that he brings to every wedding and event he works. But he and his team of talented DJs have been out of work since March. They have “pivoted” and now are offering live stream DJ sets, but there is no income generated from these “So Over It Saturdays” sessions. These virtual gigs provide an outlet for Wes and his team to still practice their craft and entertain people, but it doesn’t pay the bills.
Fighting Eel employs 43 people. That’s 43 families that depend on this store to help them make ends meet. Through the last 7 months of the Coronavirus and the repeated government shutdowns that have followed, those families’ lives have been in flux.
Personal Trainer Eric Yamashita’s life mantra is “Every Day Better”. He recognizes that improvement, not just in your physical fitness, but in ALL areas of life is key to a better, more fulfilling life. And yet like so many others in the fitness industry, Eric has been denied the opportunity to help his clients get better every day in their physical fitness because he cannot work now. The new tier system released last week cemented this “cannot work” status for personal trainers like him, even those doing one-on-one work in a private studio.
WHIK’D HAIR AND MAKEUP HAWAII
Sarah Obringer, owner of Whik’d Hair and Makeup Hawaii, thrives when she is making people look and feel beautiful on one of the most important days of their life, their wedding day. As the wedding industry has come to a screeching halt due to the state restrictions on both incoming travel and events, professionals throughout the wedding world are left without guidance, information, and most importantly, hope.
People all over the world dream of taking a trip to Hawaii. They scrimp and save for years to make it happen, to step foot on the legendary shores of Paradise. Travel professionals like April from TravelChic World help make these Hawai’i travel dreams come true, or at least they DID, pre-COVID…
Businesses like T&T Tinting define what it means to be Ohana. It’s not just a family-owned business. It’s a business that IS a family. They have employees that have worked with them for decades. DECADES!
TEA AT 1024
Nestled in the Arts District in a historic building built in the late 1800s, Tea at 1024 transfers you back in time. Here you can experience a traditional English-style afternoon tea, complete with homemade scones, sandwiches, and sweet treats. This is where bridal showers and birthday parties happen, where friends get together over afternoon tea to catch up and unwind. It’s small, local businesses like these that bring vibrancy, character, and charm to our local neighborhoods.
Floral industry leaders like Monty Pereira of Watanabe Floral recognize the impact flowers make on individuals and even whole environments. Monty also recognizes and eloquently articulates the impact the repeated shutdowns have had on Watanabe Floral, their employees, their industry, and the very customers they serve.
Businesses like Forage Hawai’i are working tirelessly to get locally-sourced meats into the hands of individual consumers throughout the pandemic. Not only are they providing an outlet for local ranchers and meat producers that have seen their restaurant orders completely dry up, but they are also building awareness and market demand for good, healthy, locally-sourced food.
KAU KAU BOX
Event and hospitality companies like Gourmet Events Hawaii and Aloha Hospitality Professionals have “pivoted” (and right away, we might add!) and have come up with innovative responses to the pandemic by creating new businesses like Kau Kau Box. But they need help! They need a plan! They need state government leaders who understand the intricacies of our economic ecosystem. Business owners like Kat Lin-Hurtubise see first-hand what these repeated shutdowns are doing to our state, to business owners, and to thousands of people who are out of work because of poor policies and legally suspect shutdowns.
Sugarcane Shop in Kaimuki is a hub through which local artists throughout all the Hawaii islands can get their creations into the hands of the local community and our visitors.If shops like this close, countless artists are without a retail outlet.If shops like this close, visitors who do eventually make their way back to our islands will be will be hard pressed to find those unique, locally-made designs that help them take a piece of aloha spirit with them back to their home state or country.These are not the things you can pick up at a box store. These are the unique emblems of aloha that cannot be purchased in bulk.What will happen to the fabric of our culture, to the marketplace environment of Kaimuki and other neighborhoods like it, if stores like Sugar Cane are shuttered?
ALOHA BEACH SERVICES
Aloha Beach Services beach boys play a crucial role in the fabric of our Hawaii culture. They create experiences for our tourists that are remembered forever. They provide a way to lay our loved ones to rest in the ocean, including such iconic figures as Duke and Don Ho. They give locals a chance to unwind and chill out after a long week.
Inspiration Interiors has worked tirelessly to “pivot” and create a space that is safe for all its employees and customers. It’s quite easy to social distance in 80,000 square foot showroom. And yet, they are shut down. Again.
Highway Inn is an icon in Hawaii culture and restaurant history. They and so many other businesses are suffering massively by these repeated shutdowns and the lack of government support and understanding of their plight.