Mauka to Makai pleased with second store on the Big Island
The founders of Mauka to Makai Outdoor Gear Hawaii
say they're happy so far with their expansion to the Big Island, which has put them into a resort market for the first time in an area especially well-suited to their product mix.
Teo Clemens and Drae Kahale-Clemens opened the first Mauka to Makai store at Ward Gateway Center in Honolulu back in 2005.
Their second store, at the Shops at Mauna Lani retail center on the Big Island, opened in December, next door to the Grin, a new-to-Hawaii store with a product line the couple had first tried out at their Ward outlet.
The new stores' opening, delayed from the original autumn target, came was just in time for the holidays, according to owner Teo Clemens, and is doing well.
"We're just happy we got to open and fill a need," said Clemens.
Clemens said he's moved a manager from Honolulu to the Kona store, and though the market is more seasonal, but that spending habits are more aggressive.
"It's the only island where you can do five different climates," said Clemens. "We can equip people whether they're going to the snow on Mauna Kea, watching the lava flow or going to the beach. We can outfit anyone who wants to do anything over there."
The lava flows are also generating some excitement, and creating a need for some good hiking shoes.
The Clemens also have positioned the new stores with an eye toward the Japan visitor market in Kona, given the direct flights and increasing strength of the yen against the dollar.
Mauka to Makai carries a wide range of brands including Patagonia, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, DaKine and Vasque Shoes.
Besides being the official Patagonia team dealer for the state, Mauka to Mauka typically offers Patagonia merchandise 20 to 30 percent lower than prices in Japan.
Mauka to Makai's strategy is to provide knowledgeable customer service, stay on top of trends, and offer limited editions of Patagonia Aloha Shirts, T-Shirts, and other items.
The Grin, which features the "Life is Good" brand, is also proving popular. The brand, created by two Boston brothers, is best known for its smiling stick figure named Jake and his dog Rocket.
"We're having problems keeping product in the store," said Clemens of the Grin.