‘Uncle Uke’ to Open Second Big Island Store
Hawaiian ‘Ukulele & Guitar shop will soon open a new location within the Queens’ MarketPlace.
With a scheduled opening date in April, the shop will double its retail space, filling with instruments, sheet music, CDs, DVDs, books, strings, and accessories.
A new line of men’s and women’s clothing will also be featured with a ‘ukulele-centered theme.
“Uncle Uke,” known more formally as Robert Yates, owns and operates the store. He has both built and played instruments since he was a teenager on Oahu. In 2012, Yates and his wife returned to Hawai’i and opened their first ‘ukulele shop in Kailua-Kona.
The store is more than just ‘ukulele and guitars, Yate’s inventory also consists of banjos and banjoleles, among other instruments.
Yates and many other luthiers make custom instruments, many of which are in-store.
“Being a builder—it’s not just about making a buck. It’s about creating something that’s unique, something that’s beautiful, something that sounds fantastic,” said Yates.
Yates is also working on a number of joint ventures with others around the world.
“One is with a master luthier in Philippines to produce six very special pineapple ukuleles,” said Yates.
“Another one coming up, out of Canada, is ‘Prestige’,” said Yates of a semi-hollow body, cutaway steel string electric ‘ukulele.
“We’ve also started talking to a company about making a ‘harp ‘ukulele’ with two necks, one with regular ‘ukulele strings, and one with harp strings,” said Yates. “We have all sorts of different things coming up.”