Furniture business for sale
Historic Koehnen's Interiors on the Big Island is for sale, as is a chunk of downtown Hilo real estate owned by the Koehnen family.
Koehnen's, pronounced, KER-nenz, was established in 1929 by F.W. Koehnen as a jewelry and fine gift shop. A furniture department was added in 1947 and, in 1979, furniture became its focus.
"It started with my grandfather, then my mom and uncle, then my mom and dad, and my brother, and I'm the last one," to come back to the business, said Karyl Franks, vice president of Koehnen's Inc.
"There's no fourth generation" to run it, she said. Heirs exist, but many don't live in Hawaii and the rest don't want to be in the furniture business.
Franks can understand. She left Hawaii after graduating from Hilo High School and it took her 30 years to come home. She rejoined the business in 1994.
Her mother Helie, now in her 80s, still works several days a week but on Fridays, she, her brother and others play golf. "She's very active," Franks said.
Four Hilo tax map keys are involved in the property sale, about half a city block at Kamehameha and Waianuenue avenues.
Three buildings on 38,000 square feet of land have 45,000 square feet of leasable area. Two more buildings have 25,000 square feet of leasable space.
"The whole upstairs" could become "beautiful New York-style loft apartments and they would have totally unobstructed views" of Hilo Bay, she said.
The property is listed at $5.2 million, but the business is a separate deal.
The upscale furniture stores in Hilo and Kona also offer window treatments, flooring and installations. With 21 employees, they have flourished with the influx of luxury-home buyers and builders on both sides of the island.
The decision to sell was hard, but unanimous.
"It's a family decision and we stick together and do what's best for the whole family," Franks said.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com