Business

KapohoKine Adventures Expands Hilo Location, Staff

February 20, 2013, 1:07 PM HST
* Updated February 20, 4:29 PM
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KapohoKine Adventures has moved and expanded its operations in downtown Hilo.

The store recently moved from its 1,300-square-foot location on Waianuenue Avenue to 2,000 square feet of retail space at 224 Kamehameha Ave. (entrance on Haili Street) next to the Palace Theater.

As a result of the move, the nine-year-old company is in the process of doubling its staff from six to 12 employees.

“We need to hire six more staff members since we’ve expanded,” said Gary Marrow, tour operator and co-owner of KapohoKine Adventures.

At a time when several businesses in the area have closed, KapohoKine is growing.

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“We grew out of our old store. We need a bigger space and closer to downtown Hilo,” added Marrow.

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Pointing to their close proximity to the theater and a gym, Marrow said they noticed improved foot traffic in the store almost immediately.

“We’re getting a lot more traffic from visitors and residents alike.”

Marrow said they also needed a larger location because the store is now an authorized dealer of Kelty camping gear, GoPro cameras and accessories, Patagonia and Columbia adventure gear, Keen shoes, Spyderco knives, and Salomon shoes.

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While the company had carried some of the same lines at their previous location, the Kelty camping gear is a new partnership and one KaphoKine undertook due to repeated inquiries from customers.

“A lot of young people were asking us for camping gear. They stay at [nearby] hostels and want to go camping as well,” Marrow said.

Seeing an unmet market need, Marrow did some research and the company decided to become an authorized dealer for Kelty.

“They’re really high quality adventure camping gear that’s been around since the 1950s but at really affordable prices,” he added.

KapohoKine also expanded the number of locally made products it sells.

The store now offers more than two-dozen made-in-Hawaii food products, several produced in Hilo.

Featured products include Hawaiian Aunties hot sauces, Maebo’s “One Ton” chips, Hilo Honey’s BBQ sauce, OK Farms coffee, Hamakua macadamia nuts, Atebara chips, Hawai’i Island cookies and candies and Divine Hawaiian coffee and chocolates, among others.

In addition to its retail operations, the store also features an activity desk that offers air, land and sea activities island-wide.

The store is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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