Kailua Shopping

Our intrepid writer sought out the best deals, cutest boutiques and most interesting shopkeepers.

If you live in Kailua, you know that as soon as you leave your house, you’re going to run into someone you know–it isn’t a surprise, it’s expected. This is just a part of what makes Kailua the kind of community that it is.

Another is the number of small, unique shops with fun, eclectic shopkeepers. From chic to vintage, Kailua shopping takes the effort out of finding the diamond in the rough.

600 Kailua Road, 261-1996
Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Kailua residents are loyal supporters of this independent neighborhood bookstore. You could say that this is Pat Banning’s second home, as she worked in the store for 30 years before buying it eight years ago. Peruse the aisles to find new, used and collectible books, plus an entire bookshelf of classic Hawaiiana favorites. "And there’s a whole section that we call old, weird stuff," adds Banning.

Uneven stacks line the aisles, but this doesn’t bother Banning. "I like to think of it as controlled chaos," she says, smiling. And regular bookstore rules don’t apply here–food and drinks are allowed and there’s a toy collection right next to the childrens’ books. "It’s something to get the kids to come into the store, and not be afraid of books." The store buys used books on Wednesdays, but call to make an appointment first.

Bead It!
767-B Kailua Road, 263-1182
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

If you’re feeling creative, head over to Bead It. The quaint bead shop offers the tools, books and classes–from beginner to experienced–that’ll foster the art spirit inside of you. The bulk of the shop’s inventory has been hand-selected, ranging from African trade beads to semiprecious stones and Austrian crystal beads.

Brendan Barry credits his wife, Jill, for the store’s uniqueness and flair. He says, "It’s all Jill’s genius and great eye for things. She really stays on top of what the trends are, reading over 20 magazines a month, tearing out pages and getting totally into it." Their Kaimuk-õ store was opened first, but after hearing their Kailua patrons protest about having to come to town, they opened Bead It of Kailua in 2002.

Under a Hula Moon
600 Kailua Road, 261-4252
Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

"You could just find anything in here," says storeowner Bonnie Madigan. With its coral necklaces, pineapple cookie cutters, Mary Francis handbags, and hand-painted beach signs, Under a Hula Moon has everything from Hawaiiana to tabletop and home dŽcor. The store has been around for more than 10 years, but Madigan, who also does interior design on the side, took it over last July seeking a new adventure. "I love decorating and making things look pretty and working with different people, so it’s just been a great fit," she says. "And the people of Kailua have been very welcoming, showing the true aloha spirit."

But be warned, "You may not see the same things when you come in again," says Madigan. "It’s a small store, so I want to keep things interesting." A few staples include the popular fragrance and body products of TerraNova and The Thymes.

Lanikai Bath and Body
767 Kailua Road, 262-3260
Monday to Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. To 5 p.m.

After opening last fall, Lanikai Bath and Body has captured the hearts of Kailua shoppers with its handmade, natural soaps and aromatherapy products. "The store is very soothing and laid-back, just like the Kailua lifestyle," says manager Margaret Peebles. Shop the collection of made-in-Hawai’i products, bath salts, body butters, body washes and even a line of dog shampoo called Poi Dog. "Come in ready to try stuff on," says Peebles. "We have a lot of testers available to try."

King Kamehameha appears to survey the other figurines on offer at Ali’i Antiques.

Ali’i Antiques of Kailua I & II
21 Malunui Ave., 261-1705
Monday – Saturday 10:30 – 4:30 p.m.

About 25 years ago, Charles and Linda YeeHoy were browsing through a flea market when a piece of art glass caught their eye. They decided to buy it, and their interest in collectibles quickly grew. "We started reading books and studying, and so from a hobby it became an occupation," says Charles. "We just had so much stuff in our house we had to open up a shop." Actually, they had to open two, just across the street from each other. Linda runs their first store, Ali’i Antiques I, which opened 20 years ago and is stocked with various items like McCoy and Fiesta American pottery, Ming’s sterling silver pins and Bakelite bracelets, and blown glass from the ’70s shaped into grapes and flowers.

Charles’ shop, Ali’i Antiques II, is about 9 years old and specializes in Hawaiiana: vintage hula dolls, koa and rattan furniture, Frank Oda black velvet paintings and etched glass, collectible ‘ukuleles, ’30s tiki torches, and early ’20s Dawkins and Benny matchbooks.

Weller’s Hobbycraft
767 Kailua Road, 262-0211
Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.,
Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Weller’s Hobbycraft is the only store of its kind in Kailua, specializing in plastic model kits such as cars, planes, tanks and ships and the paint and glue to put them all together. Tom Weller and his parents took a vacation to Hawai’i and three years later they made the move to Kailua. Since Tom’s father was a business owner on the Mainland, he wanted to open up a new store in town and thought a hardware or paint shop might be a good niche. Tom convinced him that a hobby shop would be more rewarding, and the store officially opened in 1980. You can also shop for craft shop basics, puzzles, paint-by-number sets, rockets and trains.

Brilhante Custom Picture Framing
153-B Hamakua Drive, 263-1096
Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Tracy Brilhante is one of the few certified picture framers (CPF) in the state, which means that she’s gone through a lot of training to frame our precious art and prints correctly.

Her store is a full-service custom frame shop, carrying a variety of moldings and specializing in koa wood. Celebrating her store’s 10th anniversary this year, Brilhante says she can frame "Anything!"

What’s the largest item she’s ever done? "A very ornate tapa from Micronesia," she says. "This woman was told by a chief that if she cut it, she’d have bad luck. So we folded it over to show the center and framed it in koa." The final piece ended up being about 10 feet wide and 5 feet high.

Global Village
539 Kailua Road, 262-8183
Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Stepping into Global Village, it’s easy to guess that the owners are an all-female cast. Sisters Debbie and Dawn Ah Chick and their mom, Sharrie Ah Chick, started out with a small bead kiosk in the Windward Mall 11 years ago. They found that most of their customers were Kailua residents, prompting them to move there.

Today, the hip, "girlie" store is decorated with a fun mix of clothes, jewelry, gift items and a bead station where you can create your own masterpieces. They also make their own "Made-in-Kailua" T-shirts for men, women and keiki.

Along with featuring such popular lines as Kahala, Lucy Love and XCVI, the trio also tries to choose fashion lines that support the villages and co-ops where the garments are made. They also carry recycled products, such as Littleearth, which takes old Hawai’i license plates and turns them into handbags made completely out of recycled materials.

‘Oiwi Ocean Gear
130 Kailua Road, 263-7770
Monday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.,
Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

When you walk into ‘Oiwi Ocean Gear, the light sound of Hawaiian music floats past your ears, while your eyes take in the decorative, subtle colors of Hawai’i’s earth and water tones. The mission of the store is to provide high- quality, innovative, athletic apparel coupled with an attractive look reflecting our local lifestyle. The owners design and manufacture all of their own items, from swimwear to visors. Their best-selling item is their ‘Oiwi logo T-shirts–one displays an image of a one-man canoe paddler with the phrase, "Six bodies, one mind, one spirit."

A fun sale rack at the front of the store is a permanent fixture, filled with overstocked T-shirts, paddling jerseys, spaghetti-strap tank tops and keiki rash guards.

Hungry Ear Records
418 Ku’ulei Road, 262-2175
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

For 25 years, Hungry Ear has held the torch as Kailua’s local record shop, specializing in old Hawaiian vinyls and new and used CDs. Filled from ceiling to floor with such classic items as Grateful Dead stickers, rock ‘n’ roll posters and used cassettes, the store has always had a loyal customer base of locals and tourists alike. Michelle Maielua-Yamashiro, owner, notes that two of her Japanese tourist clients have been coming into the store for years, buying collections of vintage Hawaiian records to take home.

If you are looking for a hard-to-find album, just tell Michelle; she always keeps her eye out for special requests. "I once had a woman wait two years for me to find a song for her," she says. "She waited patiently, and I finally found it, and she was so happy when I told her." She adds, "Music satisfies so many people, so it’s nice to know that I can help them find what they want."

Michelle has taken over the shop since her husband, music aficionado Luke Yamashiro, passed away last year. She says, "I promised to carry it on, so here we are, and going on strong."

Coconut Grove Music
418 Ku’ulei Road, 262-9977
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

"We’re just your neighborhood guitar shop," says part-owner Marc Scrufari of Coconut Grove Music. Indeed, in the store’s 18 years, many Kailua residents have bought their first guitars here, and have kept coming back. Along with new instruments and accessories, you’ll find a good selection of vintage and pre-owned acoustic, electric and bass guitars, plus ‘ukuleles. They do repairs, too.

If you’re interested in learning how to play an instrument, Coconut Grove rents its upstairs space to music teachers–call for more information.