It’s like someone pushed the pop-a-matic Trouble button over Honolulu and mixed all the boutiques up. By this time next month, Barrio Vintage, Hound & Quail, Art & Flea, Hawaii Camera, and Hungry Ear Records will have moved shop; some will have only changed one number in their address, while others will be on the other side of the island altogether or down the street and totally rebranded. In this two-part series, James Charisma looks at why:
Hungry Ear Records: New location, 2615 S. King St., as of Aug. 1
After 35 years of business at 418 Kuulei Road, in Kailua Town, Hungry Ear (one of Hawaii’s few remaining record shops) will move to a new location at 2615 South King Street, across from Puck’s Alley at University and King. With rising Kailua rents, owner Ward Yamashita admits, “amazingly, rent prices in Honolulu have become more reasonable than prices in Kailua.”
It’s a busy week for Yamashita: Hungry Ear’s last day in Kailua was Saturday, he and co-owner Dennie Chong are still managing the Hawaii Record Fair on July 27, and they have a soft opening of their new store on August 1. With being closer to both the UH campus and Waikiki, and seeing regulars from town who would venture to Kailua to visit Hungry Ear, Chong says he’s excited about the new location.
“The [new] spot is a little cheaper for more space and it comes with validated parking, but we will miss Kailua.”
When Hungry Ear opened in 1980, Kailua was a different neighborhood. It was a time before Whole Foods and Starbucks. “Some people like the developments and some people don’t. [Kailua Town] was beautiful back then. It still is today, but things have changed.”
Barrio Vintage: New location, 1161 Nuuanu st., as of aug. 8
For Bradley Rhea and Jonathan Saupe, owners of Barrio Vintage, in Chinatown, growth also meant change, although their move isn’t nearly as far.
“We used to be at 1160 Nu‘uanu Street,” Rhea says. “And we’re moving to 1161 Nu‘uanu Street. I know; it’s literally just across the street.”
That spot, formerly occupied by boutique clothing store Florencia Arias, is slightly larger than Barrio Vintage’s current location and has large storefront windows, which Rhea plans to capitalize on with displays and brighter decorations.
“We love our current location, but it’s in an older building. Charming, but definitely more vintage than chic,” he says. “And 1161 comes with air conditioning and a bathroom for our customers. Definitely a plus.”
Rhea moved from Arizona to Hawaii in 2011 and opened Barrio Vintage as an homage to his passions of finding great clothing gems for reasonable prices. He began the business with booths at Art + Flea, First (and Third) Fridays trunk shows at the Artist Lofts, and with personal shopping appointments.
“I’m happy that we can stick to our Chinatown roots,” Rhea says of the move. “Sold a lot of vintage in this neighborhood. God, we moved a lot of polyester.”
Business as their new space will officially begin Aug. 8 from 5–10pm at a grand opening event, with refreshments, DJs, and new vintage selections. As far as we know, those two hot mamacitas they use as mannequins will move with them.
Hawaii Camera: new location: 3457 Waialae Ave.
Hawaii’s camera destination (formerly known as Hawaii Photo Rental) has moved further into Kaimuki—from 3408 to 3457 Waialae Avenue—and their new location has allowed them to expand the business from a camera rental and supply company into the audio and video, projector, and screen industries.
“We’ve been looking for a new space for three years,” says owner Josh Strickland. “Most of my staff and I live in Kaimuki, so we love the neighborhood. The energy, proximity to Hawaii Kai and Waikiki; we wanted to stay close, but had trouble finding the right spot.”
When Harry’s Music Store closed in 2012, the building underwent extensive renovations that included the addition of a parking lot on the second floor. Strickland signed the lease for the space in July, 2013, although additional repairs and construction would keep him from moving in for a year. This past May, Hawaii Camera finally opened its new doors.
“The store was Hawaii Photo Rental, but our domain name [online] was already Hawaii Camera and we felt that it simplified the brand to just go with Hawaii Camera. When we moved locations, that’s the name we decided to stick with,” says Strickland.
Hawaii Camera’s new store offers three times the floor space, which allowed the shop to expand their inventory and hire additional employees. Strickland also wants to host workshops, demonstrations, and speciality training classes before the end of the year. The employees also now have official “Hawaii Camera” shirts.
“Going into a shop and seeing and learning about this technology in person with onsite experts can’t be replicated online. We’re looking to streamline the process,” says Strickland. “The formula is replicable—we could open an ‘Austin [Texas] Camera,’ I suppose, but the point is to start with the community here. Kaimuki is home.”
In Part 2, James Charisma looks at where Hound & Quail is moving to (It’s In Chinatown!), and what’s next for Art + Flea in their new Howard Hughes Warehouse location.