Carol Naish is filled with a lifetime of memories of travels around the world as she looks at the museum of surfboards hanging from the ceiling and walls in her warehouse shop at 155 Hamakua Drive in Kailua.
After more than 40 years, Naish Hawaii, which sells windsurfers, kitesurfing rigs and stand-up paddleboards and gear in Kailua, is calling it quits. The store has begun liquidation sales and will close when all the inventory is gone.
The family-run business has had a long run, with numerous challenges, but the rent of $7,800 a month had become one of the most insurmountable. Naish said the sudden closure due to COVID-19 in March sealed the deal.
The uncertainty about when the economy might fully reopen again is also difficult.
“The coronavirus was a jolt because we couldn’t even open our doors, and that pretty much eliminated any people coming in for demos or rentals,” she said. “But really, it’s just the high rent of Kailua that killed the business. We just can’t afford to keep it open any longer.”
Naish and her husband, Rick, first opened Naish Hawaii in a warehouse in the back of Hekili Street in 1979, and moved to its current Hamakua location in 1982.
Carol’s son, Robby Naish, is a champion windsurfer and pioneer of kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. Her other two sons, Randy and Rolly, work at the shop in Kailua.
All grew up windsurfing in Kailua Bay.
At one time, the business had a thriving school offering lessons and three shops total, including one in Waikiki as well as at the Kailua Beach Center, but is now just down to the Hamakua Drive location. The number of rentals also has declined.
Doing business online is a challenge because of shipping costs, she said.
“We have loyal customers that have been coming here for 30 years,” she said, recalling visitors from Europe that return every summer. “We don’t know when the end is going to be, but we’re going to hang up.”
To contact the store, call 262-6068.