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Sunday, November 17, 2002


art
DEAN SENSUI / DSENSUI@STARBULLETIN.COM
Na Mea Hawaii recently opened at Fort Street Mall.




Downtown
goes native

Three retailers specializing in
Hawaii-made art work and other
products have opened new shops
in the center of Honolulu


By Russ Lynch
rlynch@starbulletin.com

Hawaiian musicians serenaded downtown workers at lunchtime Friday to draw attention to the Native Books & Beautiful Things store that opened Monday on the Bishop Street side of the Davies Pacific Center.

On the other side of the building, a new local art store, Atelier 4 Fine Art Gallery, invited all the Davies tenants to a cocktail party Friday night to show off its wares.

A block away in the historic Judd Building at the corner of Merchant Street and Fort Street Mall, Maile Meyer was gearing up for her fourth week running a new store, Na Mea Hawaii, meaning "things of Hawaii."

In a resurgence of opportunities for local artists, artisans, craft workers, food producers, florists and book producers, downtown Honolulu has suddenly become a center for businesses that on the surface seem to be competing with each other. Their operators say, however, that they complement each other and they have several sources of clientele.

There are people who live downtown, said Meyer, who was one of the founders of Native Books & Beautiful Things but broke ranks to form her own new store using different artists and suppliers.

There are many businesses that like to buy gift baskets, such as the hand-crafted packages her supplier makes from fresh green coconut leaves, and fill them with local supplies, such as kava or poi or jams and jellies.

And always there are the many thousands of people who work downtown.

art
DEAN SENSUI / DSENSUI@STARBULLETIN.COM
In the foreground is a wili-style Niihau-shell necklace sold at Na Mea Hawaii. A 7-strand heleconica-style necklace priced at $11,000 is in the background.




Meyer, who has a Na Mea Hawaii shop in the Hilton Hawaiian Village and two on other islands, said she and her partners are convinced that people will come from all over the island to shop in the new stores downtown and already she has seen business from visiting cruise ships.

Meyer said the stores really are able to work together in what she sees as "a great exercise in cooperation and collaboration" and all of them are used to working that way with their artists and suppliers.

The operations manager of Kalikimaka, the Christmas store opened by Native Books & Beautiful Things, agreed with Meyer that the stores help each other.

"Every artists' cooperative in the state complements the others. If we don't have what you want, we'll direct you to the others," said Peter Hicks.

Na Mea Hawaii sells the works of at least 40 artists, including creative people on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and the Big Island, Meyer said.

The store persuaded the Bibelot gallery in Kaimuki to show its pottery and other works by local artists in the new downtown outlet.

A hui of more than 30 families, coordinated by Pam Dow of Forever Kauai, makes Niihau shell lei and has representatives in the store a couple of days a week to show how they are made. "They even do repairs," Meyer said.

A group of native Hawaiian entrepreneurs from Hauula, called Hale Kuai, shows products in the store. Other local makers sell their clothing, souvenirs and other items, such as a hand-made tissue holder with two packs of tissues for $5, or locally crafted coin purses for $7.50.

There is fresh poi, locally produced popcorn and jams and jellies. Native books are there, alongside many types of art work. Na Mea Hawaii has local shirts and dresses, shell lei, nut lei, coffee and kava.

art
DEAN SENSUI / DSENSUI@STARBULLETIN.COM
Na Mea Hawaii Store Manager Betty Santos looks at a "pahu," or drum, made from the trunk of a coconut tree.




Meyer said 2,000 square feet of the location is now being used for retail displays but there is another 2,000 square feet she hopes might be used later for operations such as Hawaiian massage.

Na Mea Hawaii does have a friendly, local atmosphere. While talking to a reporter, Meyer took a second to say "of course" to a couple of teenagers who wanted to leave their bicycles in the back of the store while they shopped in the area.

"When people say, 'can I do this?' the answer is almost always 'yes,' " Meyer said.

"We have a lay-away plan," she said. If someone wants a painting or something else and doesn't have the cash, Na Mea Hawaii will work out a payment plan and hold the item until it is paid for, she said.

For now the store is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays but it will open Saturdays for the holiday season, starting after Thanksgiving, she said.

"I think it's all very exciting, and confusing at the same time," to have several businesses opening in the same area around the same time and all representing local products, she said. "But I do love what it says about locally made things, both the supply and demand sides," Meyer said.

At the new 4,800-square-foot Native Books & Beautiful Things store fronting Bishop Street, Hicks and his workers were celebrating their grand opening Friday.

"We're back. We were downtown, between Richards and Alakea on Merchant," but that store closed several months ago leaving the business with its main store in the Ward Warehouse, Hicks said. Native Books, a partnership of about 10 local artists, will decide after the holiday shopping season whether to keep a permanent presence downtown.

At Atelier 4, artist Gina O'Neill said while the gallery is a local store for local producers, it features contemporary artists and is a departure from the native Hawaiian flavor of the others. "We're all complementing each other," she said.

Open for just a week, Atelier 4 says it has had a great response. The central business district has modern coffee shops, service facilities like FedEx, many small food places and a wide mix of other businesses.

People have been dropping in to say "we're glad you are here," O'Neill said.

Atelier 4 is a partnership of four artists: O'Neill, Patricia Smith, Scottie Flamm and Mark Brown.

"We are here for the long haul. We invested everything we have to get here," O'Neill said.

Why downtown? "Because our clientele is down here," she said.

By Russ Lynch

rlynch@starbulletin.com

Hawaiian musicians serenaded downtown workers at lunchtime Friday to draw attention to the Native Books & Beautiful Things store that opened Monday on the Bishop Street side of the Davies Pacific Center.

On the other side of the building, a new local art store, Atelier 4 Fine Art Gallery, invited all the Davies tenants to a cocktail party Friday night to show off its wares.

A block away in the historic Judd Building at the corner of Merchant Street and Fort Street Mall, Maile Meyer was gearing up for her fourth week running a new store, Na Mea Hawaii, meaning "things of Hawaii."

In a resurgence of opportunities for local artists, artisans, craft workers, food producers, florists and book producers, downtown Honolulu has suddenly become a center for businesses that on the surface seem to be competing with each other. Their operators say, however, that they complement each other and they have several sources of clientele.

There are people who live downtown, said Meyer, who was one of the founders of Native Books & Beautiful Things but broke ranks to form her own new store using different artists and suppliers.

There are many businesses that like to buy gift baskets, such as the hand-crafted packages her supplier makes from fresh green coconut leaves, and fill them with local supplies, such as kava or poi or jams and jellies.

And always there are the many thousands of people who work downtown.

Meyer, who has a Na Mea Hawaii shop in the Hilton Hawaiian Village and two on other islands, said she and her partners are convinced that people will come from all over the island to shop in the new stores downtown and already she has seen business from visiting cruise ships.

Meyer said the stores really are able to work together in what she sees as "a great exercise in cooperation and collaboration" and all of them are used to working that way with their artists and suppliers.

The operations manager of Kalikimaka, the Christmas store opened by Native Books & Beautiful Things, agreed with Meyer that the stores help each other.

"Every artists' cooperative in the state complements the others. If we don't have what you want, we'll direct you to the others," said Peter Hicks.

Na Mea Hawaii sells the works of at least 40 artists, including creative people on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and the Big Island, Meyer said.

The store persuaded the Bibelot gallery in Kaimuki to show its pottery and other works by local artists in the new downtown outlet.

A hui of more than 30 families, coordinated by Pam Dow of Forever Kauai, makes Niihau shell lei and has representatives in the store a couple of days a week to show how they are made. "They even do repairs," Meyer said.

A group of native Hawaiian entrepreneurs from Hauula, called Hale Kuai, shows products in the store. Other local makers sell their clothing, souvenirs and other items, such as a hand-made tissue holder with two packs of tissues for $5, or locally crafted coin purses for $7.50.

There is fresh poi, locally produced popcorn and jams and jellies. Native books are there, alongside many types of art work. Na Mea Hawaii has local shirts and dresses, shell lei, nut lei, coffee and kava.

Meyer said 2,000 square feet of the location is now being used for retail displays but there is another 2,000 square feet she hopes might be used later for operations such as Hawaiian massage.

Na Mea Hawaii does have a friendly, local atmosphere. While talking to a reporter, Meyer took a second to say "of course" to a couple of teenagers who wanted to leave their bicycles in the back of the store while they shopped in the area.

"When people say, 'can I do this?' the answer is almost always 'yes,' " Meyer said.

"We have a lay-away plan," she said. If someone wants a painting or something else and doesn't have the cash, Na Mea Hawaii will work out a payment plan and hold the item until it is paid for, she said.

For now the store is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays but it will open Saturdays for the holiday season, starting after Thanksgiving, she said.

"I think it's all very exciting, and confusing at the same time," to have several businesses opening in the same area around the same time and all representing local products, she said. "But I do love what it says about locally made things, both the supply and demand sides," Meyer said.

At the new 4,800-square-foot Native Books & Beautiful Things store fronting Bishop Street, Hicks and his workers were celebrating their grand opening Friday.

"We're back. We were downtown, between Richards and Alakea on Merchant," but that store closed several months ago leaving the business with its main store in the Ward Warehouse, Hicks said. Native Books, a partnership of about 10 local artists, will decide after the holiday shopping season whether to keep a permanent presence downtown.

At Atelier 4, artist Gina O'Neill said while the gallery is a local store for local producers, it features contemporary artists and is a departure from the native Hawaiian flavor of the others. "We're all complementing each other," she said.

Open for just a week, Atelier 4 says it has had a great response. The central business district has modern coffee shops, service facilities like FedEx, many small food places and a wide mix of other businesses.

People have been dropping in to say "we're glad you are here," O'Neill said.

Atelier 4 is a partnership of four artists: O'Neill, Patricia Smith, Scottie Flamm and Mark Brown.

"We are here for the long haul. We invested everything we have to get here," O'Neill said.

Why downtown? "Because our clientele is down here," she said.



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