This coming Saturday, July 23rd, Aloha Pawz will be celebrating its first year in business! As we plan our celebration, I can’t help but reminisce where we were one year ago compared to where we are today. I remember planning for the Grand Opening like it was yesterday; friends dropping in to help, getting my first pallets of inventory in, making up the flyers, hiring our first Aloha Pawz team.
By the time it was Grand Opening day there was so much excitement and buzz in the air you could taste it! It was amazing to see all of the people that showed up to see the store and with their dogs too! And oh my, my Hilo ‘ohana came to help in droves, I can never say thank you enough for all of the friends and family that came out to help me make my dream come true.
To list a few……
Tony Miziazek & Chris Kua, with InBigIsland.com, showed up on the big Grand Opening day, and with their families, to help with photo’s & videos. Our first ever commercial was shot by them. Gina Tanouye & Gabe Figueira spent countless hours of their own free time helping me put furniture together and pricing items. Thank goodness for Gina’s great handwriting and Gabe’s handy man skills! As my husband and I were in a mad dash putting the store together I will never forget Kapaelani Comstock & Maraea Keamo showing up out of nowhere to the store just to help. I can still feel the relief from seeing their faces and big smiles to help me get to opening day. Not only did they spent hours of their time to help set-up, Kapae set-up a face painting booth for the kids to enjoy and Maraea and her sons helped stuff and hand out goodie bags, and pass out human cake and pupcakes to all of our guests.
All of our doggie guests received free Aloha Pawz bandanas made by my mother-in-law, Michele Speegle, and my sister-in-law, Mary Lou Speegle. During the Grand Opening Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary showed up with lots of their adoptable pets and Marlene Norton, with Peace of Mind Pet care came with games to play. My Aunty Yolie Racca, and Aunty Gordine Kaluhine flew in for their softball game and stayed up late to help me right before the big opening day. Rodney Pacheco and Keith, with KBIG radio did a fantastic job hosting our Grand Opening event and letting all of Big Island know we are open! I couldn’t have had such a fun and great 1st day in business without the hard working team I had; Kaysie Sulastri, Halia Nahale-a (this was her 1st job ever!), and Alena Beckly. Bonnie Nims, whom I only met the day of the grand opening, came by and took beautiful pictures of the entire day, and I still look at them now with lots of happiness. My dear friend, Julie Cox, who is with Clark Realty, helping to manage customer traffic. It was busy that day and she helped make it enjoyable for guests to maneuver in and around the store.
My beautiful family, my parents David & Anacleta Thorne and my brother, Doug Thorne giving me lots of support all the way from California. And, of course, the love of my life, my husband, Kris Speegle, and my son, Kristopher-Calvin always giving me inspiration and motivation to open up the store of my dreams and being right there every step of the way!
Throughout this past year, I think back on all of the fun and opportunities Aloha Pawz has given me to work within the community, and especially the pet community.
From our first community event, Aloha Ilio’s Howl O Ween, I had so much fun seeing all of the dogs dressed in costume. We saw every costume, from bat pugs to rasta poodles! Our team became Rotarians with the Rotary Club of South Hilo last December. During the holidays I really enjoyed seeing the spirit the holidays can bring and how much everyone wanted their pets to be a part of it. Around this time, we hired Mishell Vasquez, and little did we know, her cairn terrier, Ruby, would be working here too! Everyone is so happy to see her in the store, on our Instagram page, trying out new product, and she is by far the best customer greeter ever!
It was a surprise this past June when we learned we were nominated for Best of East Hawaii New Business. The verdict is still out but thank you so much to whomever nominated us (would love to know if it was you) and especially for voting!
On top of the many events we enjoy doing in the community, one of my most favorite moments was only a couple of weeks ago when myself, Kaysie, and Mishell went on a “girl’s night out” to Café Concerto’s for dinner and then went to see The Secret Life of Pets movie premier. During the trailers we were wondering why the screen was blurry and was grumbling about the quality and then Kaysie looked back and saw everyone had 3-D glasses! Thank goodness we caught it in time before the movie started!
I am so thrilled to have reached my one year anniversary with Aloha Pawz and even more thrilled to be working with the most caring team on the planet! I am constantly in awe that I have found my dream team so soon in business. They are incredible women, hard workers, and have such compassion for animals of all kind.
Stop by the store this weekend to help us celebrate with free pupcakes and treats and well as 10% off everything (excluding dog and cat food). What an amazing year this has been and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year. All I know is it is going to be absolutely Paw-some!!!
Mahalo & Cheers!