How long have you been doing this?
I started Bean About Town in London almost 13 years ago. Before I moved to Hawaii in 2016, there were 7 different Bean About Town locations, a few of which were mobile operations. I came to Oahu with my wife (who is from here) and daughter, and decided it was wiser to take a year off. I needed to get a feel for this new pace and place of life.
A few things clicked for me as I settled in; I had been coming to Hawaii for 13 years on business trips from London, and had already established relationships with roasters here; making and selling coffee was what I knew best; and I began to understand just how special of a neighborhood Kaimuki was. With these realizations I had the confidence to open a Bean About Location here on Waialae Ave. We opened in April 2018 and the past six months have been nothing short of fantastic!
What have you found to be challenging since moving in to Kaimuki?
When I first opened up a lot of people told me that competition would be stiff. However, I truly believe in collaboration as the key to my/our success. Just because I run a coffee shop, I still tell people to visit another café or restaurant if they are looking for something I don’t have. As Kaimuki business owners, we can work together through cross-promotion and strategic alliances. Doing so could grow our overall pie, and lead to each of us having a bigger slice to enjoy.
What do you love about Kaimuki?
I love how strong the sense of community is here. I feel like if you want a taste of what Oahu is all about, you should spend time in this neighborhood. It has such a wonderful mix of old, local roots, tourists who are visiting, and newcomers who have moved here from other parts of the island or abroad. Everyone I’ve met has told me such unique stories about Kaimuki.
Where do you see Kaimuki in 5 years?
I’d like to see more events, and specifically more festivals. This would expose people to new experiences that might be outside their comfort zone when it comes to food and drinks. I think one of Kaimuki’s bigger challenges is to attract more people from other neighborhoods on Oahu. But I believe we can do this in a way that doesn’t turn us into something too corporate or commercial.