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2020 was a year of extraordinary global and community challenges. As the Small Business Summit brings leaders and individuals together, we created this inspirational page to feature the many small business owners that have remained resilient and successful during these difficult times. 


The businesses and organizations listed below have been curated by our special nonprofit partner Shop Small Hawaii


We hope their stories bring you some aloha!

Through @PeacePeepDesigns, Oʻahu artist and fashion designer Khyra Dillard aims to spread peace, whether that be through symbolic images, or descriptions of peace. Her work depicts people of all different ethnic backgrounds with their eyes closed, symbolizing the peaceful mindset they have.

Debbie, Dawn and Sharrie Hopkins are a mother-daughter trio that created the local boutique @globalvillagekailua. The original vision of this family owned run boutique remained in tact over the course of 25 years: provide a one of a kind collection of original designed apparel, locally made jewelry, and customer service that truly exemplifies the Aloha Spirit.

@fabrichawaii offers a fabric store, an online fabric store on Etsy, sewing classes, and you can even create your own fabric design. Owner Toko Sugaya’s aim is to spread the beautiful fabric designs and the styles of Aloha and in that way preserve the history, tradition, and the spirit of Hawai'i. 🌺

@coconenehawaii is the newest creation of long-time local entrepreneurs Kent & Lori Untermann. What started at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet in 1986 as a modest effort to enter the arena of Hawaiʻi's small businesses, grew to a multi-layered enterprise with 3 divisions: Pictures Plus for local art and framing; Island Sole for lifestyle & gifting and Plus Interiors for interior home products and kitchen cabinetry.

Erin Kanno Uehara, born and raised in Hawai'i, opened her local chocolate shop @chocoleahawaii in September 2014. Choco le'a is a gourmet chocolate company specialized in artisan dark chocolate truffles, chocolate dipped fruits, chocolate macadamia nut clusters, dark chocolate covered Oreos, and many more freshly made treats.

Husband and wife James and Miho Gieschen turned their passion for French and Japanese 'petite-inspired' fashion and jewelry into a business some six years ago. What started out as an online platform for retail with participation at some festivals, led to the opening of @sugarsugarhi last year. Sugar Sugar is located inside the @ohmhawaii in Honolulu, Oʻahu.

These healthy eats and treats come straight from the land and can be ordered for carry-out at @farmtobarncafe, the healthy eatery in Haleʻiwa, Oʻahu owned by Michelle Ching.

Owner Jackilyn Choy started her cosmetology career 12 years ago, and opened @jkc_wellness_hawaii in Honolulu in 2017, specializing in massage cupping treatments. Although it might sound or look painful, these treatments are actually pain free!

The year 2020 surely brought challenges for this award-winning barber shop run by local business owners Kellan Briones and Rodney Ballersteros. Yet, this year also marks their 4th anniversary at the @PremierBarbershop_downtown and 2nd anniversary at the @PremierBarbershop_alamoana.

Local fashion designer @Rumi_Murakami is what you would call a creator with a cause. In her previous career, Murakami worked 15 years as a counselor with survivors of domestic violence. For every mask purchased, she donates a mask to community service organizations in support of women and children affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Jasmin El-Gohary owns and runs the petit and colorful @miragehawaii in Kaimukī. She is also a painter,  dancer, therapist and mother of two. El-Gohary's online Paint Party packages are now delivered by mail, while food and beverage is delivered via courier (i.e. Uber Eats).

For local artist and illustrator Kristine Pūnua (@krishawaii) everything in the way she was doing business changed when COVID-19 hit. She has now become more active in sharing creative content online, and recently illustrated a children's book. 

@kuluamaui is a modern Hawaiian clothing brand with a strong focus on sustainability. Kulua cuts and sews most all of its designs in house and creates their own prints through collaboration with Maui visual artists. A reference for the island of Maui, Kulua means "two, standing", a name that represents togetherness and balance.

Did you know #shopsmallhawaii has various local small businesses amidst our membership ohana who make animal well-being their top priority? Here's a shout out to our animal supporting members: @popokiandtea, chill, sip tea & relax with adoptable cats | @hawaiidoggiebakery, named one of America’s coolest pet stores | @thedoggykitchen, human-grade, locally sourced food for dogs | @dogwalkerhawaii, pet boarding, pet sitting & dog walking, voted Hawaii’s best | @paradisepawz, organic goodness for dogs🐾

Don't you wish you had someone to take away the administrative burden of accounting and financial tasks so you can focus on doing what you love to do? Marissa Matsusaka is the owner of Mahina Ledgers, LLC and a Certified Public Accountant in Hawaiʻi with experience in non-profit, hospitality, construction, banking, aviation and government.

Tony and Alex Nguyen, along with their Auntie Loretta at the helm of the family business have been running their lei shop in Chinatown, @linsleishop for over 20 years now.

Meet Phyllis Look, Hawaiʻi’s first certified forest therapy guide and owner of @forestbathing.hi. Launched in 2018, Phyllis has since guided over 150 walks. Her pivot to Zoom walks have gathered people from Australia to the UK and across the U.S.

At the helm of @motherbakeshop that opened at the start of 2020 is husband-and-wife baking couple Josh Stewart and Kristina Swenson-Stewart. Try one of their many mouthwatering treats over in Kailua!

Shieleen Gregorio, a nurse of 17 years and mother of two, launched her own swimwear line at her online boutique @maverickinmotion808 in March 2020. Gregorio's 50+ ultraviolet protection factor fabrics are manufactured by a local company and some of her unique Hawaiʻi-inspired designs are created by local artist Erika Chapman, @katios_18.

This colorful piece of art, shaped and sugar coated by the creative hands of Cori Nakamoto is one of the many cake varieties available at @coriscakedreams. This talented cake wizard, born and raised in Oʻahu, recently represented Hawaiʻi as winner of the Netflix bake-off series Sugar Rush Extra.

Located in Waimalu Shopping Center, @paradiseoptical currently invites customers by appointment only to make sure individual eye care needs are met while staying safe and healthy. Paradise Optical has provided the best eye care to the Oʻahu community since 1963.

All three gentlemen in this picture currently serve in active duty, while also serving customers and helping them to stay fit at local fitness centers @anytimefitnessaiea and @anytimefitnesskakaako.

Janet Ishikawa launched @lanikai-mochi in January 2020, just one month before the pandemic. Ishikawa then partnered with @farm2ohana, a local initiative where farmer market goods are delivered to customers in Kailua, Waimanalo, Honolulu and Kaneohe.

Nicolette Bartolome of @lineagecoffeeco is the 5th generation in a family of coffee farmers in Hawaiʻi and  started picking coffee as a little child. In 2019, Nicolette and her husband Loreto do everything themselves: from the processing, roasting and packaging of the beans to building a website to sell their Lineage (100% Kona) coffee online.

Angel and Brian Foster of @islandoliveoil showed creativity and out-of-the-box entrepreneurship during these challenging COVID-19 times. As their two stores were only able to open on very limited hours, they took a new approach and made some adjustments to stay in business.

Looking for something new for your next takeout? @thepasteleshop serves some of the best Puerto Rican food in town. Opened in 1981 by Elisabeth Ross, her dream of providing good Latin food for Hawai'i is carried on today by her daughter.

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