Posted on Jun 26 2013

Cool Shops in Cool Places

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Shopping in vacation towns can be hit or miss. When it’s good, it’s obvious and when it’s bad, it’s just as obvious and disappointing. Vacation destination retail is such a great opportunity for both the “mom and pop” stores as well as national brands. At home, we often take local retail for granted. We pass small, independent stores without much thought. We also often pass by national chain stores because we’re convinced there’s nothing new. But there is something about being on vacation that makes you want to explore them all. When I’m traveling, I pay closer attention to what makes a store enticing for customers and successful for owners.

It comes down to a few simple principles: carefully curated product combined with nice ambience and friendly sales associates. It sounds so easy, but is rarely executed well. When done right, you’re hooked as soon as you enter the store and inevitably spend money.

I discovered a few stores in Kauai that follow the formula to a T. Olivine (click here to see their Facebook page) in Poipu is a beautiful boutique with an impressive product selection. The owner, Sallyann Hammond has carefully selected a range of dresses, coverups, accessories and jewelry that is mouth watering.  It’s obvious she’s an experienced merchant who understands her customer – both local and tourist – and the brands she can choose from. If you’re ever on Kauai, make sure to visit her store.

Sand People (click here for their website) has 13 locations on all of Hawaii’s 3 islands but this location is the best yet.


This is the original location which opened 25 years ago. A smaller, more intimate space customized for Hanalei.


Another great example is Quiksilver (click here to visit their website) in Hanalei on the other side of the Island. It’s very apparent that this is not just another store in the chain. From the moment you enter, It feels local and special, and is stocked full of product specially designed and purchased for this particular small town location.  They combine soft goods and hard goods with both locals and tourists in mind. Caution: surf boards are clearly priced for the non-surfing tourist!


Regardless, Quiksilver always delivers and epitomizes the local market mentality.


I hope your summer travels take you to some beautiful locations where you too can relax and shop a bit. Keep your eye out for some great local retail, and when you find it, enjoy it!


**Olivine photo c/o Sallyann Hammond**

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Loretta Soffe - Principal