Hardworking Hawaii: 111-year-old Kauai surf store beefs up online store to survive pandemic

Hardworking Hawaii

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Like many businesses this year, Deja Vu Surf Hawaii has been hit hard by the pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions and the lack of visitors to Kauai has made 2020 especially hard for the local surf shop.

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However, this is not the first big challenge the business has had to work through.

Deja Vu Surf Hawaii has been through a number of tough times in its 111-year history, forcing the family-owned business to evolve and change.

“My great great grandfather, Mankichi Miura, came to Kauai from Japan to work on the sugar plantation,” said Sara Miura, the director of sales and marketing for Deja Vu Surf Hawaii. “He quickly learned that it wasn’t the best fit, and so he went back to doing what he did best, which was making Japanese sweets.”

Miura started selling those sweets in 1909 at the M. Miura store in Kapaa.

Over the years the business evolved, and the family began selling more than just candy. The M. Miura store turned into a general store, then a clothing store, and it eventually evolved into what it is today.

“By the time my dad and his brother got involved, they just really loved surfing and that’s how it slowly evolved into a surf shop,” Miura explained.

The pandemic is not the first hard year the family business has had to endure.

“We’ve had our fair share of hurricanes and so we’re still here, you know, we’re here because we have amazing coworkers and their families. We’re here because our community supports us,” Miura explained.

It is that support that is getting the Miura ohana through the pandemic.

With the lack of tourism to Kauai, Deja Vu Surf Hawaii is now relying heavily on online orders to bring in business.

Miura said when customers support local businesses, it makes a huge difference for families on the islands.

“You’re looking at the person who fulfills all the orders, so I write a little handwritten note, and I pack it, [I] package everything with a lot of care and take it to our post office,” Miura said.

Just as the little M. Miura candy shop evolved into three successful surf stores on Kauai, Miura said this pandemic is forcing them to adapt again. It is likely a change that will stick around for years to come.

“We’ve received so many messages from friends who normally come and visit us over the holidays or over summer, and they’re just wanting a little piece of Kauai to bring home to them, and so it’s been really amazing, and we are looking forward to expanding what we offer online,” Miura said.

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