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Small businesses in Kaimukī work to lift the fortunes of the whole neighborhood

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Keep it Kaimuki
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Community members celebrate the holidays in Kaimukī. (Dec. 3, 2021)

Shops and restaurants in a Honolulu neighborhood are working together on a shared project. The goal is to lift the fortunes of the entire neighborhood.

Some 19,000 people live in Kaimukī, and the neighborhood economy is driven by small, locally-owned businesses.

One of these is The Public Pet, a pet supply store owned by Jordan Lee who is also the founder of a neighborhood small business support network called Keep it Kaimuki.

Lee started this grassroots movement six years ago and its signature event Keep it Kaimuki Saturday five years ago.

Participation has grown from 25 to more than 40 area businesses this year, cross-promoting each other and taking advantage of the neighborhood’s walkability to encourage people to visit multiple shops and restaurants. This year’s event is the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

In between these annual events, network members support each other in the day-to-day needs of Kaimukī businesses and their customers.

One of these is parking.

Working alongside other groups, such as the neighborhood board and the Kaimuki Business Professional Association, Kaimukī businesses succeeded in getting a municipal parking lot repaved.

If that doesn’t immediately sound like a major accomplishment, it took 10 years to make it happen.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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