Wailuku’s small local businesses focus of event

‘Shop the Street’ to coincide with Small Business Saturday

Rooted in Wailuku co-owner Ashley Schenk (right) assists Maria Oxenford of Happy Valley Wednesday. “I’ve been using their products for two months now,” Oxenford said. “It’s changed my life.” Rooted in Wailuku will be one of 14 participating businesses in Saturday’s “Shop the Street,” an event geared toward promoting small local businesses in Wailuku town. Shoppers who visit the stores will have a chance to win prize giveaways. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

To boost activity for Wailuku town small businesses still impacted by the pandemic, a “Shop the Street” event will be held on Saturday as part of the nationally recognized Small Business Saturday.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., customers may visit 14 participating shops on Market and Main streets to be entered into a grand prize giveaway. There will be holiday specials and goods at some stores along with “pop-up” shops.

“I organized this event in efforts to boost activity for the small businesses in Wailuku after feeling the effects of COVID,” said Friends & Faire owner Jamie Anderson. “After talking to other shop owners, I learned that they were also struggling a little these past couple of months.”

Anderson, who owns the arts and crafts workshop along Main Street, said that August, September and October were the slowest months she has ever seen since opening in 2019.

“So much that I started to feel discouraged,” she said.

Rooted in Wailuku co-owners Keli Lau (right) and Ashley Schenk pose in front of their Wailuku store Wednesday.

Because of the pandemic, Anderson had to switch the way she operated and conducted smaller and private group craft workshops instead of open public ones due to COVID-19 restrictions. She also has not had her “Keiki Saturday” crafts classes since the pandemic began but would “love” to start again soon.

“But business is starting to pick up now and hopefully the holidays will bring in more people wanting to get together to craft and celebrate,” Anderson said.

To capitalize on holiday shopping, Anderson coincided Saturday’s event with the American Express “Small Business Saturday” initiative founded in 2010, which encourages people to “shop small” at locally owned businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Each of the 14 stores will have a drop box and stamp cards that shoppers will fill out and turn in to any participating merchant in order to be entered in the contest. There is a limit of one card per person and there is no purchase necessary to enter.

Participating stores include Rooted in Wailuku, Native Intelligence, Friends & Faire, Paradise Now, Requests Music, Brown Eyed Bella, Kua’aina Hale Ku’ai, Wailuku Coffee Co., Sandell Artworks, Sabado Studios, Green Ti Massage, Cut Market, Mystery Maui and Maui Sporting Goods.

For more information, see www. friendsandfaire.com/post/shop-the-street-november-27th or www.WailukuLive.com.

“I want the community to visit the many locally owned stores on Main and Market that they haven’t had a chance to go to yet because each one offers so many unique items you can’t find at Target or TJ Maxx,” Anderson said. “Plus, it means so much more to us when you support our small business.”

This includes new retailer “Rooted in Wailuku,” which opened in August.

Owned by friends and halau sisters Ashley Schenk and Keli Lau, the shop is half a salon and a “refill bar” where customers can bring their own bottle or container or purchase a reusable one to fill with anything from laundry pods, shampoo, conditioner, cleaners and reef-safe sunscreen.

Schenk said while their products are not quite seasonal for the holidays, it is a practical gift.

“I’m just hoping it will encourage people to come out to the community and support small business,” Schenk said of Saturday’s event.

She will also have some pop-up businesses in her shop.

Formerly of Fierce Salon, Lau now offers salon services by appointment.

Lau also is part of Green Circle Salons where “beauty waste” such as color tubes, used foils, paper, plastic and other items get turned into new products or clean energy.

Longtime Wailuku merchant Brian Yoshikawa, owner of Maui Sporting Goods, also experienced a slowdown in business in September and October.

Now he is at the mercy of shipping issues like many other merchants. Merchandise for his normal “Gray Wednesday” sale, prior to Black Friday, did not arrive on time this year and was still stuck on Oahu on Wednesday.

But Yoshikawa said that on Saturday he will still have holiday specials at his spearfishing, free diving and sporting goods equipment store.

“I just think it’s good,” Yoshikawa said of the event that will hopefully draw more customers to Wailuku town. “In the past couple of years, we had some nice new shops open up that people aren’t aware of.”

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.


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