Text provided by Katie Kaanapu
Images courtesy of Kapolei Commons
Kapolei Commons, West O‘ahu’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination, showcasing Target, Hawai‘i’s first luxury theater and many local eateries, continues to navigate a new retail environment. Business is ongoing, but it’s definitely not business as usual. Rather, the center focused on flexibility and creativity, producing fun family-friendly events that showcase its merchants and bring the community together in a safe environment.
The original Owners and Developers of the center, the MacNaughton and Kobayashi Group, launched an “old-fashioned” series of events starting in May, with a focus on unique and entertaining experiences for residents.
First up was a virtual family dance party, which was live-streamed via Zoom. Remote DJs spun current hits, and customers danced the night away from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. If you are having a hard time visualizing what a virtual family dance party is, picture your last Zoom meeting, but with everyone listening and dancing to your favorite musical hits.
Kapolei Commons took advantage of its ample parking field, the convenient location, and close ties to its luxury Regal Theatre by launching classic drive-in movies at the center. What better way to start than with The Goonies? If you have ever had the pleasure of watching a movie at a drive-in, then you already know that there is no other moviegoing experience quite like it.
For many, the drive-in offering at Kapolei Commons was their first experience of this retro phenomenon.
With the success of the drive-in movie events, Kapolei Commons also hosted a series of three drive-in live music concert series, which showcased some of Hawai‘i’s most beloved musicians. This was Hawai‘i’s first ever drive-in concert series.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue to offer family-friendly events at Kapolei Commons, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Continuing to host events at the center is important to us, now more than ever,” said Patrick Kobayashi, chief executive officer of Kobayashi Group.
“We know that times are hard for everyone right now and we hope that our events provide the community and our merchants with a special offering, and a sense of normalcy and excitement,” added Emily Porter, chief operating officer of MacNaughton.
Merchants at Kapolei Commons have pivoted as well and have seen continued success from the events throughout the past few months.
“We have always appreciated the partnership and open communication that we have at Kapolei Commons. It is one of the reasons why we decided to open our second restaurant at the shopping center,” said Henry Yoon, founding partner of DB Restaurant Group. “Kapolei Commons understands the needs of our local startup both prior and during the pandemic. Their commitment to our growth and to the Kapolei community has helped us navigate this challenging time. Simply put, they have our backs. And for that, we are forever grateful.”
Executing an original event like Hawai‘i’s first ever drive-in concert was an immense undertaking on its own. But having an opportunity to partner partnering with eager and professional talent on Island to ensure a memorable experience has been rewarding.
What does the future hold for drive-in events in Hawai‘i? One thing is certain: Kapolei Commons will continue to develop and introduce innovative events for years to come.