UNDER THE KOA TREE, a locally owned art gallery & gift shop that has supported artists in business for over 20 years in Hawaii, expanded its retail space at Waikiki Beachwalk earlier this month.
Pictured above at the entrance of his new showroom, which doubles in size of his previous showroom, is owner Kimo Spencer, who not only represents over 70 local artisans from all across Hawaii, but keeps his merchandise exclusive to Made in Hawaii items–a rare find in the Waikiki shopping scene.
Backed by the gallery's strong base of repeat customers and people in search of locally made products, Under The Koa Tree has also expanded its support for Hawaii's artists. Unlike ultra high-end galleries that feature just a handful of top-grossing artists whose large-scale art is hardly within financial reach of the public majority, UTKT focuses on offering a wide price range and variety of matted, canvas, and metal art prints that are smaller in size and compact enough to transport in a carry-on suitcase. Art-seekers truly seem to appreciate in addition to these options, the fact that many of the featured artists are very small, passion-based entrepreneurs who are receiving the opportunity for recognition in a highly competitive market.
I'm grateful and honored to be one of those artists I just described. Pictured right is me, standing beside the art prints I individually packaged myself, in hopes of inspiring and touching the hearts of people who visit from around the globe who may become drawn to my work. I've been represented at UTKT for a little over a year now and looking forward to expanding my body of work for them.
Having somewhat of an "insider's" point of view, I foresee continued success for UTKT's future. For an independent, brick and mortar art gallery to have survived and thrived in a competitive and expensive marketplace such as Waikiki, such as Hawaii in general, for over 20 years, means all the major components are being done right: Authentic merchandise, check; Desirable location, check; Customer loyalty, relatable and friendly staff, and support for local artists, check. A business doesn't get much more genuine than that, right? Congratulations, Under The Koa Tree!
Under The Koa Tree is open 7 days a week from 9:30AM to 10PM on the 2nd floor of Waikiki Beachwalk on Lewers st.