Chinatown businesses band together to bring customers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Chinatown businesses band together to bring customers

Bobby Wald Bobby Wald

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU- (KHNL) The Hallow Baloo Music Arts Festival Is part of a organized effort to boost business for the area by attracting more customers.

First Fridays, for example is where parts of Chinatown are transformed into a scene of art and culture. But for merchants, it's about more than just fun.

At Black Cat Studio, the artists are in action. Drills to doing final preparations, owners are putting the final touches for the tattoo parlor's grand opening.

"It's a friendly non-intimidating place to come," said Shop Owner Bobby Wald.

In an economic time where Chinatown businesses are toughing it out, the non-profit Art District Merchant's Association is organizing a unified effort. About 60 businesses are teaming together to help shops overcome the area's seedy reputation.

"We have to come together to breath life into this place to make it exciting and interesting," said Coordinator Marsha Rose Joyce.

While customers are getting harder to come by, owners say when it comes to spending on entertainment, customers aren't drawing the line.

"In the tattoo world or bar world not too many people quit spending money on things they really want, they'll skip an electric bill to go have a drink with friends," said Wald.

Danny Dolan agrees. Getting ready to open up the brand new "J.J. Dolan's Pub,"  he says promoting monthly and weekly events are important. But, the secret of success is a steady and dedicated clientele

"It'll be a nice boost. We hope. But we're relying on the daily folks who live and work downtown," said Part Owner Danny Dolan.

"We're in it for the long run," said Wald.

Through dedication and drive, together, Chinatown businesses hope to boom past a bone-chilling economy. Up to 10,000 people were expected at the Hallow Baloo event. With Lahaina, Maui's traditional Halloween event not going on this year it may exceed attendance expectations.

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