Popular local store Na Mea Hawai`i and three other stores that it operates will be leaving their Ward Warehouse location at the end of July. It will be moving “sometime in September” at Ward Centre, in the space previously occupied by Brookstone.
Na Mea Hawai`i, which has been at the Ward Warehouse for nearly 20 years, is a “space for cultural exchange, education, and local goods,” as described by its website (http://www.nameahawaii.com). Owner Maile Meyer says she’s worked with land manager Howard Hughes Corporation over the last few months to “incubate community space for creative expression, small businesses, stand up comedy, music, performance, art murals, and exhibition.”
On the day of her media event, many of the above were in evidence. Eight small businesses had mini storefronts along the perimeter of the large space, an art exhibition greeted customers in the front, live music played, and in the center of the room, crafters invited the public to learn to make haku lei.
Meyer, under the LLC “Ho`omaika`i” also is affiliated with three other Ward Warehouse stores: Hello Makana, Aupuni Place, and Native Books. While Na Mea Hawai`i focuses more on Hawaiian cultural items, Hello Makana is dedicated to packing-and-sending locally made products, Aupuni Place is a site for Hawaiian and local artists, and Native Books sells Polynesian-themed books.
All four of the entities will host a goodbye/ mahalo party on July 30 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Aupuni Place. The stores will close for good the next day, July 31.
They’re holding a fundraiser in July to help them transition into their new space at Ward Centre. “There are few stores selling locally-made products in the urban core. I want to stay here in Kaka`ako to provide people a place to go to not just shop, but to talk, learn, and read. It’s about relationships, connections,” she told a group of journalists. Na Mea Hawai`i’s mission, she says, is to serve as a community resource.
More on Na Mea Hawai`i and its related stores at http://www.nameahawaii.com.