Island Wise

JC preps the bodies for assembly.
Image: James Cave

KoAloha ‘Ukuleles

JC preps the bodies for assembly.

If you have time before pau hana, check out KoAloha ‘Ukuleles, not just for the instruments they produce, but to witness first-hand how instrumental they are in the redevelopment of Kalihi’s community.

For 20 years now, they’ve been considered one of the best manufacturers of koa ‘ukuleles. But perhaps even more impressive is the philosophy shared by the company and its president, Alan Okami. “The more we work together for a healthy community, the more it breeds better business,” he says. “A big part of what we do is not what we make but what we are.”

Go for a tour and see Pops, KoAloha’s founder/inventor, grinding wood and talking story. Fourteen employees make as many as 400 custom ‘ukuleles per month, proving that the company’s overall philosophy, and their commitment to a struggling community, may be a key to Kalihi’s redemption.

744 Kohou St. Unit K, [koaloha.com], 847-4911