KĀNEʻOHE, HAWAIʻIKanileʻa ʻUkulele took Gold in the 2021 ICSC Global Visual Victories Awards for Most Creative Temporary Store Design. It is the first ever Gold for the Hawaiʻi based ʻukulele company known for its innovative handcrafted instruments. It is also the first Gold for its host property Windward Mall in its nearly 40 years in business.

The ICSC (Innovating Commerce Serving Communities) Visual Victories Awards Program is a visual merchandising competition specifically created for cart, kiosk and temporary in-line retailers. The annual competition recognizes the outstanding work done by exceptional visual merchandisers, retailers and specialty leasing agents.​

Kanileʻa ʻUkulele acquired its new retail space in Windward Mall on August 1, 2020. Designed by the Souza brothers, three young professionals under 30, the 2,000 square foot showroom was created as a destination for both locals and visitors to gather around music. The ‘ukulele is an instrument that brings people together, creating happiness, and promoting health and longevity. It was important that those values were represented in the comprehensive vision and visual display.

“If you told me a year ago that we would be internationally recognized for our store design, I would not have believed you,” said Kaimana Souza, CEO of Kanileʻa ʻUkulele and eldest of the Souza brothers. “My brothers and I designed the space and were also the owner/builder combo – we ran the job site without a professional contractor. It was important for us to be ‘hands on’ because we wanted the showroom to express the same aesthetic and build quality that we put into our ʻukuleles. We were pleased with the result.”

Kanileʻa ʻUkulele also co-sponsored a Windward Mall 2020 holiday event that won the Silver for the ICSC MAXI Experiential Awards. The first-ever Shining Bright Holiday Celebration lit up Center Court three times a night with an 8-minute synchronized music, laser and light show linked to its 25-foot Christmas tree. It drew a crowd of about 75 to 100 spectators per show and was mentioned multiple times in local media.

“We are honored and thrilled to have won both award nominations as this is the first time Windward Mall has won a MAXI and Visual Victories Award,” said Cesar Topacio, vice president-retail management and general manager at Windward Mall.

The Kanileʻa ʻUkulele store/showroom is located on the 2nd level in the Macyʻs wing of Windward Mall. There are over 100 stringed instruments on the wall for shoppers to experience. The showroom is open on modified hours Wednesday-Friday from 12 noon to 5 pm and weekends from 11 am to 5 pm. For more info, call (808) 234-2868 or visit kanileaukulele.com.

About Kanileʻa ʻUkulele: Husband-wife team Joe and Kristen Souza founded Kanileʻa ʻUkulele in July of 1998. Joe apprenticed under master luthier, the late Peter Bermudez, learning “uncle Pete’s” traditional Hawaiian building techniques while integrating today’s 21st century technologies. The result is a full-bodied, rich sound that is distinctive of these playable masterpieces. Their three adult sons are an integral part of the business. The eldest, Kaimana, oversees Sales and Marketing. Iokepa runs administrative operations and logistics. The youngest, Kahiau, concentrates on design and production. Together, the Souza family strives to innovate a healthy and creative world through high quality and joyful sounding ʻukulele.

Kanileʻa ʻukulele are available worldwide through authorized dealers and directly from the factory. Tours of the factory have been suspended due to COVID-19 and will resume once it is safe to do so. For more details, call (808) 234-2868 or visit kanileaukulele.com.

About ICSC: The ICSC (Innovating Commerce Serving Communities) is a member organization for industry advancement; it promotes and elevates the marketplaces and spaces where people shop, dine, work, play and gather as foundational and vital ingredients of communities and economies. The ICSC Global Awards are the most recognized achievement for professional excellence in the retail and real estate industry. They are presented to the companies elevating marketplaces and retail spaces through their outstanding achievements in marketing, design, development and retail store design. The ICSC Global Awards stand without peer and have been claimed by the world’s best companies and outstanding shopping center professionals. For more information, visit icsc.com.

About Windward Mall: Located at the corner of Kamehameha Highway and Haiku Road in Kāne‘ohe, Windward Mall offers shoppers from the Windward side and beyond a mix of national and local retailers with an emphasis on a family-friendly atmosphere. Anchored by Macy’s and Ross Dress for Less, the mall also features more than 110 stores and eateries. Windward Mall is committed to doing everything we can to protect our community’s health, safety and well-being. The Center continues to monitor the news around COVID-19 and the mandates of public health and the state/local government officials. The health and safety of Windward Mall’s customers, employees and community remain a top priority. More information is available at windwardmall.com. Windward Mall is owned by Kamehameha Schools.


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