On Thursday, February 6, Billabong celebrated the opening of its new store in beautiful downtown Waikiki. Located at 2424 Kalakaua Avenue, the store — with its trim, well-merchandised 2,500-square-foot footprint — sits across the street from the famed bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku, and one of the world’s most popular and crowded beaches.
In attendance at the opening were Billabong teamriders Andy Irons, Shane Dorian, Daniel Jones, Tory Barron, Brian Pacheco, Jamie Sterling, and Jason Shibata. Joining them were Hawai’i sales representative Keoni Watson, Billabong CEO Paul Naude, Waikiki store manager Makoto Hosokawa, team manager Rik Iaconetti, and a handful of other Billabong executives.
Hawai’ian “Kahu” Keahi Renard conducted an interesting and moving ceremony. He blessed the store with a traditional Hawai’ian prayer/chant and a cutting of a ti leaf “ribbon” that had tourists and locals alike stopping to observe the occasion. A prayer for business? Maybe, but the sheer amount of foot traffic in busy Waikiki should ensure success.
“The idea is to enhance the image of the brand — let everyone know what we’re all about, and what we’re doing,” said Billabong CEO Paul Naude. Naude added that another store would be opening in Lahaina, Maui in a several months. The Waikiki store joins three other California-based Billabong locations in Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, and Universal Studios.
According to store manager Makoto Hosokawa, business has already been good. “The opening weekend was great, because the NFL Pro Bowl was in town. After that we’ve just been getting a lot of walk-ins. People come in straight from the beach.”
Following the opening ceremonies, a party was thrown poolside at Duke’s Bar and Grill where party-goers were wined and dined on Billabong’s dime. Good luck to Paul and Makoto, and make sure you check them out next time you’re on O’ahu.