1,000+ attend Kōkua for Maui events on Oʻahu in support of Maui businesses
Over a thousand people came out on Sunday, Nov. 19 to support Maui at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Oʻahu. Maui vendors participating in the Kōkua for Maui: Shop and Show Aloha event showcased various products from around Maui County, giving many businesses a new opportunity to sell and highlight their work.
“Well this is huge for our business,” said Emily Stolte of Aloha ‘Āina Adaptogenics. “We have been struggling the last few months with Maui just having very low amount of tourists coming and people needing those extra dollars, not spending money. And so to have the opportunity to come to O‘ahu and get the flight paid for and our hotel paid for, really it was a big deal for us to come out here.”
In addition to providing much needed economic opportunity to Maui businesses, many Maui businesses were able to connect with customers, colleagues and friends.
“We have two stores in Lahaina. Of course, we lost one in the Lahaina Fire. Barbara and I were working hard that evening when the fire came ravishing through the town,” said Robert Lorea of Maui Toy Works. “We did escape the blaze and here we are today and it’s a great opportunity to be here with Kokua for Maui. Great group of people out here. We’re seeing a lot of our neighbors. It’s bringing a lot of joy and warmth to us so we really enjoy this opportunity to be here.”
The event was hosted in part by the State of Hawai‘i and City and County of Honolulu. Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke and Mayor Rick Blangiardi greeted and met with many of the vendors during Sunday’s event.
“We thought of, okay, how do we support the people of Maui, but at the same time show-off the culture, and the spirit, and resiliency of Maui,” said Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke. “We had this idea of bringing Maui vendors to all the islands and have a venue where you folks can showcase who you are and how strong you are.”
On Saturday, November 18th, residents attending the Hilo Farmers Market warmly greeted eight Maui vendors who flew there as part of the Kokua for Maui: Shop and Show Aloha initiative, in partnership with the County of Hawai‘i.
If you missed these events, there are still more to come, including Monday, November 20th and Tuesday, Nov. 21 at the Royal Hawaiian Center on O‘ahu. 75 vendors will be set up throughout the Center from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday, Nov. 25 from 9 a.m to 3:00 pm, the County of Kaua‘i will host vendors at the Small Business Saturday Craft Fair featuring Kaua‘i Made and Made in Maui at the Kukui Grove Center.
For event details and updates on the Kokua for Maui program and to continue to support Maui’s local businesses please visit MauiNuiFirst.com.