Monday, January 18, 1999


Hawaii vendors
focus of Web site

Shoppers can choose from
200 isle goods and services

Star-Bulletin staff

Tapa

A new Internet shopping site in Hawaii allows local vendors to tell who they are and list their products and services to possible buyers around the world, without being charged a fee.

Established in Kona by co-owners Bob and Pam Cooper and Jonathan Gaines, Hawaii General Store Inc. said it differs from other Internet shopping sites in the islands because it features the vendors first.

The site, http://www.hawaiigeneralstore.com, shows pictures of the people who run the various businesses and text telling who they are and what they do. From there, shoppers can go to what's being sold and order the products.

"We're dealing with a lot of local people who don't have a lot of overhead," Bob Cooper said. They don't have the money to pay the fees being asked by operators of many other Web sites, he said.

His company lists them free, receives the orders and passes them on to the vendors, and handles the money in a secured, confidential way. Prices are worked out to include both a share for Hawaii General Store and enough to cover shipping and handling. The vendor keeps the rest.

It's like a retail store handling something on consignment for the real seller, Cooper said.

The site currently lists 47 vendors selling 200 Hawaii goods and services. They range from arts and crafts, music and videos, and flowers and gifts through tourist-related items such as coffee, jewelry, nuts and sugar, and tropical attire.

The vendors also include suppliers of furniture, home furnishings, kitchen appliances, sporting goods and toys.

Also listed are personal services such as wedding arrangements and a "travel desk" can arrange accommodations and activities for visitors.



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