Author Topic: Hawaii Woodcraft Store  (Read 4960 times)

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Offline Maddie

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Hawaii Woodcraft Store
« on: November 13, 2014, 09:45 PM »
I was in Honoulu for some business meetings, but made my escape to check out the Honolulu Woodcraft and its Festool display. Before I start, let me state that other than being an occasional customer, I have no relationship whatsoever with here goes:

Woodcraft Honolulu

"Impressive" comes to mind.....Honolulu's Woodcraft is quite a store. To support a tool and hardwood store of this size in Hawaii the interest in woodworking and the local customer base must be huge.   

I was surprised when the greeter welcoming me at the door turned out to be LeRoy Akimoto, the owner.  LeRoy is easy to take to, a plain speaker, candid.  Being curious, I asked him some nosy questions. He spoke to me about what compelled him to start a wood working store in Honolulu and the frustrations of a small business owner over the past fifteen years in a fluctuating economy. LeRoy noted that his store is one of several other hardwood suppliers in Honolulu. A people person and polite, and with a lifetime of experience, LeRoy’s not in the least bit reticent to express an opinion, humorous or otherwise, about tools, suppliers, competition, real estate, art,  and anything else woodwork related.

One thing certain, LeRoy’s a Festool advocate. I have no idea where his Festool dealer sales rank in NA but they have to be right up there near the top.  I saw a couple of nice green tools being sold and leaving the store while I was visiting.

A pal, David, (a resident of the big island) and I wandered, rubber necking the isles dedicated to specialties from carving to finish...soup to nuts, they've something for everyone.  Some really nice, quality stuff, too.  At the counter we found Jason Yong and Norma Itagaki, juggling phones, sales, taking orders and inventory questions. LeRoy told me that Norma had been with the store since inception and was a dynamic force in motion.  To me, the whole group seemed friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable.

Back in the training center we ran into Andy Cole,   and introduced ourselves.   His enthusiasm for woodworking? Infectious.  When the turning class that day started, we peeked in and watched for a few minutes.  One of his students leaned over and whispered that Andy was the best teacher she had ever known.  I know nothing about turning, zero.   But listening briefly to his presentation, I'd like to be able to take a woodworking class from Andy, too.  Get this:  all the various wood blocks and samples, tools and all the other paraphernalia you see in the photo were supplied by Andy, from his personal shop, to the students, gratis. David's comment: "This guy's got it together".

The retail portion is about half of the square footage of the store.  The other half is class room, mill/processing and inventory. Something like 20,000+ square feet of wood working. They have some huge hardwood resizing/prep equipment in the backroom.  I took a shot of a beautiful purple heart slab hanging from the wall, turns out it was just one of several in the warehouse. 

I asked David what he thought about our visit and with a cheesy accent said:  “I’ll beeee baaaack”. My sentiment exactly.

Norma:  “I see you're checking everything out.  Can I help you find something, is there anything you need?”   Me: ” I think I need more money.”    Norma, laughing, never stopping, and over her shoulder: “Boy, have I heard that before.”

Negatives?  None that I could see.  I visited the store twice for a total of a couple hours.  I recommend checking the store out on your next visit to Honolulu.


PS: Not too far away is the Martin & MacArthur store, be sure to check it out.

Offline wow

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Re: Hawaii Woodcraft Store
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2014, 10:53 PM »
Nice write-up! Makes me want to visit. I'll think I'll try to go...


Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline Sean Ackerman

  • Festool Dealer
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  • Festool Dealer near NYC - 10,000 sq feet!
Re: Hawaii Woodcraft Store
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2014, 10:35 AM »
Always have heard very wonderful things about those guys.  They really know their stuff eh?
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Offline The Woodworkers Club

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    • The Woodworkers Club
Re: Hawaii Woodcraft Store
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2014, 09:56 AM »
Great to hear. LeRoy and his team are top notch.
Matt Nauman
The Woodworkers Club
11910-L Parklawn Drive
Rockville, MD 20852