woman carrying shopping bags

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday with Some of our Favorite Local Businesses

It’s time for the busiest shopping time of the year! Instead of spending your hard-earned dollars at a big box store, try buying most of your gifts from local retailers this holiday season. There are always plenty of craft and art fairs on Big Island where shoppers can find local, handmade goods. There are also lots of local businesses that we love all around the island, and we love to support them throughout the year and on Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is a great time to support your favorite local businesses. The annual event, hosted by American Express, helps to bring the focus back to shopping small and supporting local communities. From the Small Business Saturday website:

“Now in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday continues to be an annual holiday shopping tradition — just one part of the larger Shop Small Movement that supports small businesses every day and everywhere. Because shopping at a family-owned framing spot or buying a handmade ring from your favorite online small business helps to promote more vibrant communities. That’s why American Express is proud to back Small Business Saturday and the Shop Small Movement.”

According to SBS research, 67 cents of every dollar spent in a small, local business stays in the community – 44 cents goes to small business owner and employee wages and benefits and 23 cents get reinvested in other local businesses (purchasing supplies, services, etc.).

Now that you know why it’s so important to shop local, here’s how you can do just that this weekend.

You can find a few special events going on around town, like the Author Meet and Mingle at Basically Books, the Small Business Saturday Pop-Up Store hosted by the Hilo Small Business Development Center, and the Small Business Saturday event at Keauhou Shopping Center. Many other local businesses are offering various specials and deals on this shopping day, too – just be sure to ask when you visit your favorite store or restaurant!

Need some ideas about where to shop and eat on Small Business Saturday? Here at Big Island Pulse (hopefully one of your favorite small businesses!) our staff has put together a list of some of our favorite retailers, restaurants, and more. Check them out, and don’t forget to support local EVERY DAY! 


Retail Shops to Visit on Small Business Saturday

Stoneface Hawai’i: You’ve probably seen this beautiful work by a local couple at the craft fairs or Maku’u Farmers Market – it’s hard to miss the gorgeous sandblasted glass, cups, and coasters when you see them. Whether you love honu, birds of paradise, plumeria, or sharks, you’ll surely find a design you’ll love. 


Bell, Book and Candle: A fun and mystical adventure! Owner Sara Bresnahan has everything to help you gain clarity or ward off negative spirits in your life.

Grapes Wine Store: Owner Randy Nunokawa is knowledgeable and fun, all you have to do is tell him the type of event you need wine for and he is able to help select the PERFECT bottle every time. 

Lin’s Lei Stand: Lin sells the best flower leis for nearly 40 years and counting.

Tokunaga Store: Pretty much all the males in my life are obsessed with this store. My boyfriend lives in their diving and fishing section. Their staff is very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. They take their time to explain how some of their products work and always make sure we leave with something we are happy with.

Basically Books: Whether you’re looking for local gifts, souvenirs, or real Hawaiiana books, Basically Books has a little something for everyone. They often host events with local authors and sell plenty of locally made items. Their kids’ section and the various Hawaiian books and toys are particularly great.

Island Silver Crowns: Often imitated, but never duplicated, this luxury hat line makes a truly beautiful, quality product down to the smallest details. Designs represent various aspects of Hawai’i, including its history, culture, and nature, with hats made with acrylic or koa and lined with satin lining. In addition to the hats you can find earrings, phone accessories, and car emblems. 


Kamuela Liquor Store: If you’re looking for a nice bottle of wine or a good spirit, stop at Kamuela Liquor Store in Waimea. They regularly host wine tastings, so it’s a great way to try something new. They also have a nice food section with plenty of ingredients to make a beautiful cheese plate to pair with that new bottle of wine.


Restaurants to Eat At on Small Business Saturday

Kamana Kitchen: Kamana Kitchen has the best Indian food on the island! It’s a great place to bring a friend because they’re vegan and vegetarian friendly, so they have something for everyone. Their shrimpy curry is the absolute best!

Just Cruisin Coffee: The staff at Just Cruisin is always upbeat and friendly. They make the best breakfast sandwiches and their chicken macadamia nut sandwich is to die for! Big bonus points for the drive-thru. From smoothies to sandwiches, this is a great place to grab a quick bite.

Hina Rae’s Cafe: Hina Rae’s is a cute cafe tucked in Honoka’a (with another location in Waimea) that has the best acai bowls! My favorite is the Cocoa Craze (so healthy right?) They use local products and produce grown in Kamuela!


Vibe Cafe & Health Bar: If you’re trying to eat more plant-based meals these days, Vibe is the place to find them. Their Jackfruit Nachos are pretty life-changing, and their Beet Poke Bowl is a great option for a healthy lunch on the go. You can also find a small retail section inside, highlighting jewelry, oils, and more from local makers.

Bite the Eye: This food truck, a favorite among locals, makes some of the tastiest ahi dishes out there. The Cajun seared ahi is delicate and delicious, while their ahi patty is sweet and succulent. Grab a plate lunch or a salad and add poke or other ahi options for a hearty meal.

Paradise Hand Pies: Lisa Atkinson has been cooking since she was 8 years old. Her passion for cooking is what inspired her to bring these amazingly tasty little treats to the Big Island! Her pies can be sweet, they can be savory, they can be truly anything you desire. With custom service, this chef loves expanding her palate to include local style flavors as well as bringing her own Native culture into the mix. They are definitely worth a try! You can order for an office gathering, meeting, holidays, birthdays and more. Her pies are truly art and are all the rave!  

Hawaiian Shrimp Co: This small, startup operation recently moved from its tent at the Kai Store and Maku’u Farmers Market to a full storefront in the Waiakea Shopping Center. Now, in addition to their super tasty shrimp (flavored in lilikoi or garlic) they offer lots of new sides, teri beef, and more. There’s really something for everyone here (including vegans thanks to the new tofu sticks added to the menu). This is one plate lunch where you won’t find yourself with any leftovers.

View this post on Instagram

Waiākea Center Food Court (808)657-4040

A post shared by Hawaiian Shrimp Company LLC (@hawaiianshrimpco) on


Herbivores Cafe: Not only does Herbivores create some truly inspired plant-based foods that they serve up in their Kailua -Kona location, they are huge, huge supporters of the community. Those of us on the east side are excited that they are expanding soon, opening new restaurants all over the island so that the yummy, healthy food and community spirit can be found all over! 

Liquid Life: Having a place to grab fresh, healthy food outside of the larger towns is great (locations in Keaau and Waimea), and there are tons of choices that appeal to everyone at Liquid Life. Their sourdough ulu bread is particularly yummy.


Miscellaneous Businesses to Check Out on Small Business Saturday

IMI Clinics: Integrated Medical Institute Clinic is located in Hilo and run by the impressive Dr. Joanna Smith. She was born and raised on the Big Island and brings years of education to the community with a passion and enthusiasm for “integrated” medicine. Using allopathic, western, naturopathic, and holistic services she can do it all. She will help you navigate your personal health and well-being as well as your medical esthetic needs so you can look and feel great inside and out.  She can travel island wide so make sure to call her for a consultation today!!

Downtown Dogs Pet Grooming: Brigette Martinez can handle any pets grooming needs you may have. She’s patient and kind and so knowledgeable. She can help keep your pet clean, healthy and smelling good. 

Kīlauea Pottery: Jaime Stoke runs this small, beautiful shop that offers classes to children and adults to help them explore their love of art. We are so glad she has a shop in Hilo! 

Backyard Monkey: There are plenty of things that my husband can tackle around the house, but when those few things come up that require a little extra assistance, it’s so helpful to be able to call up Backyard Monkey to help. They do pretty much anything you need in your yard, from brush mowing to tree removal and every day landscaping work.

Palace Theatre: My boyfriend and I love going to the Palace with friends to watch both big time and locally made movies. They also host film festivals such as The Made in Hawaii Film Festival and Hawaii International Film Festival. This place is such a gem for movie buffs! (Plus they offer senior and student discounts!)

Gabs Garage and Entry Doors: Open since 2007 this locally owned and family operated Big Island business makes quality and affordability its top priorities. They serve the entire Big Island and offer very personalized service with a huge selection and inventory to make sure you get exactly what you want and need for your home projects.

Moxie Fitness: Joyi Ryhss has compassion and energy for everyone. She brings it to everything she touches and offers a variety of exercise and health plans no matter where you need to start. 

Kris Speegle, Allstate: Kris Speegle and his island-wide teams are involved and invested in our communities! They offer so much more than just home and auto insurance, and they do so at the absolute best rates… seriously! They have whole packages designed to support you, your ohana, or entire companies during severe illness, natural disasters, personal injury, and more. What we love about him and his teams are the personalized and truly caring way they sit down and get to know you to make sure you have everything you need so that if disaster strikes you don’t have to worry. We are very grateful for them and all they do for our Big Island.

KapohoKine Adventures: KapohoKine is well known for showing adventurous visitors and locals a good time, but did you know that they are an extremely eco-friendly company, too? They recycle everything possible, use solar panels for the minimal electricity that they need at their ziplining sites, charge their device batteries with solar, utilize catchment for their water needs, and more. They’ve also got a pretty fantastic retail store inside Grand Naniloa Hotel with lots of fun Hawaiian stuff and adventure gear.



Lava Lava Beach Club Bungalows: Sure, we all love the casual, fun beachfront restaurant in Anaehoomalu Bay, but the hidden wonder next to the restaurant is the real treasure. If you’re looking for a memorable staycation, this is the place. The bungalows next to the restaurant give guests a taste of the beachfront life with perks like outdoor showers, high end kitchenettes, and daily happy hour served on your lanai. It’s definitely one of those gifts you have to save up for, but the memories are well worth it.

Did we miss some of your favorite local businesses? Be sure to tell us about them in the comments!


Featured photo by gonghuimin468 via Pixabay, Creative Commons licensed.

Share This Post


Related Articles