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The inaugural University of Hawaiʻi Alumni Makers’ Market showcased products from approximately 30 UH alumni-owned/operated restaurants and businesses. Approximately 350 people attended the event on August 10 at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

A portion of the proceeds will help address student food insecurity at the 10 campuses of the UH System. The event was presented by the UH Office of Alumni Relations in partnership with the UH Alumni Association.

people under a tent

“I am just thrilled to be here at the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel, featuring some of our simply amazing alumni, the businesses that they’ve created, the economic vitality that exists in our community because of our UH alumni with the fabulous educations they got at UH,” said UH President David Lassner. “We’re celebrating here with other UH alumni and the community all that our fantastic graduates have accomplished.”

The inspiration behind this event came during the pandemic when the focus turned to small businesses. The UH Alumni board realized all of the talent in the community, and wanted to host an event to bring together UH alumni and showcase their talent, according to Maile Au, UH Foundation senior executive director of alumni relations and community engagement.

tables and products in a ballroom

“I hope the community saw what UH is to the community and who they are, and then on top of that, I hope they all received a little boost in marketing and just inspired the community to shop small and support our alumni,” Au said.

UH alumni Justin D’Olier (executive MBA) and Kyle Reutner (chemistry) are the sales manager and distillery general manager, respectively, for Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum, one of the participating vendors.

“For us, getting to reconnect with the university, which was both such a wonderful experience for us, is just so nice to get to give back,” D’Olier said. “It’s also a fantastic opportunity for us to get to share and interact with all the alumni to let them know the wonderful work that we’re privileged enough to do out of the distillery.”

Participating restaurants:

  • O’Kims Korean Kitchen
  • Sage Creamery
  • Pint + Jigger
  • Azure Restaurant
  • Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum
  • Beachhouse at the Moana
  • Pop Culture Artisan Pops
  • The Royal Hawaiian
  • Beer Lab Hawaii
  • Square Barrels
  • Market Advantage

Participating small businesses:

  • Jules & Gem Hawaii
  • Pono Potions
  • Old Queen Street Stadium
  • Premier Barbershop Hawaii
  • Dolkii
  • Mari’s Gardens
  • Ports + Paws
  • Twiggy
  • Emi Ink
  • Keep it Simple
  • Komakai Jewelry
  • Yireh
  • Lahaʻole Designs
  • Noho Home by Jalene Kanani
  • Laine Jewelry
  • Roots Roll Reggae
  • Wai Meli

—By Marc Arakaki

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