A Friend in the Islands
Hawaii Resources and Online Island Gift Shop
WHY DID WE START "A FRIEND IN THE ISLANDS"?
In 1998 we first started off with alohafriends.com which hosted information about Hawaii as well as information on things to do. We created it for our friends and family to use when planning their visits to see us and to learn about our lives in Hawaii. We started getting emails from a lot of people that found our website who were visiting Hawaii or wanting to move to Hawaii or had a Hawaii related question. We began to expand our resource pages to include more information based on what people were sending us emails seeking.
HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT HAWAII?
Since our move to the islands we have enjoyed learning about Hawaii's history through books, people we meet, and visiting historical sites around all the islands. Since moving to the Hawaiian Islands in 1993 we have explored each island: Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and the Big Island of Hawaii, some only once and some many times. In 1998 we enrolled in the State of Hawaii Tour Guide Certification course at Kapiolani Community College and passed with very high marks. This course covered Hawaii’s unique cultural and natural history. Our studies covered from the time the first island was formed to modern times. We found it so enlightening to understand why places were given a certain name, what Hawaii was like prior to human arrival, what life was like for ancient Hawaiians, the history of the Royal Family, and lots of other interesting information. We are both State certified Tour Guides. We really enjoyed this class and found the information we learned useful.
We also were both weekly volunteers at the Waikiki Aquarium, Kim for over 7 years and Mike for over 5 years. We learned a lot about Hawaii's unique marine life through classes and literature provided by the Aquarium. We both worked in interactive exhibit called "Edge of the Reef" where we could show and tell visitors more about what lives in different parts of the reef.
We both have the philosophy that learning is something you do your entire life so we are always looking to learn more about the things we are passionate about, like Hawaii. We enjoy reading books about Hawaii flowers, plants, trees, birds, insects, legends, cultural information, hiking trails, vacation hot spots, etc.
HOW DID WE BEING OUR ISLAND GIFT SHOP?
We would often get emails from people visited our website who wanted something from Hawaii or who wants to send a gift from Hawaii to someone. We decided to start an online Island Gift Shop where we could assist people in enjoying or sharing treasures from Hawaii. We registered our business name as "A Friend in the Islands" in January 1999. We have assisted thousands of people in all 50 states and all over the world enjoy and share treats and treasures from Hawaii. Our Island Gift Shop is the sole sponsor of the free Hawaii related information you find on the web site you are on right now. We have chosen not to sell ad space or pop up window advertising because we feel it is too distracting. We rely on our web site users to support our free resources by utilizing our online Island Gift Shop.
Over the years in addition to our Island Gift Shop we have offered different services which were very popular with our website users including Lei Greeting Services at the Honolulu Airport and Photography Services for visitors to capture memories of their vacation. We also shipped fresh leis and flowers from Hawaii for celebrations across the USA and we were the #1 fresh lei shipper in all of Hawaii for over 5 years! Sadly these services had to be suspended in 2008 when the economy was at it's worst and people were not spending money on luxury items. Many of our suppliers, other businesses in Hawaii, and businesses around the USA closed for good due to the poor economy. We are a family owned and operated business and were no longer able to support ourselves with this business and had to seek full time employment elsewhere. We kept our websites dedicated to providing Hawaii information operating and reduced our gift shop items so we could run it part time until the economy recovered. Even now businesses in Hawaii are still struggling to survive, many of our suppliers never recovered and products we offered are no longer available. In 2017 we are working to reinvent our business. Our website has received a complete makeover of all the fun and interesting Hawaii related information! We are also offering new products and services in our gift shops including a Vintage Hawaiiana gift shop with collectable island treasures. Kim is now a licensed Wedding Minister and Notary Public in the State of Hawaii! We welcome your suggestions on other product and services you would like to see us offer. It was input from our website users back when we first started it that helped us grow to be so successful until the economy crashed.
We hope you enjoy the Hawaii related information and find it entertaining and useful. It would be our pleasure to assist you in enjoying or sharing treasures from our Island Gift Shop. We ship anywhere in the USA. Aloha~ Mike & Kim