Kahuku.org Store Is Re-roofed And Open For Business

Red Raider pride never rests. Indeed, while prep football is coming out of its off-season, Kahuku.org, the on-campus store that sells Red Raider apparel for Kahuku High School, is always in-season.

This summer, the popular store actually closed for the month of July so the structure could have a new roof installed, but it was back in business last week. Customers began streaming through the store once again in anticipation of the impending 2012 Kahuku football season.

As the Red Raiders are coming off winning another Division I State Championship last November, interest in the football program has only multiplied.

“Football drives this store,” said Alicia Esche, Kahuku.org’s store manager since 2003, when she took over for Mary Anne Long. “People buy all of our other items, too, but football keeps us going. I’d say that 25 percent of our items are related to football, and 75 percent of our sales are for items football-related.

Winning the state championship last year lifted every- one’s spirits in the community. It was amazing, and hopefully we’re back on a good (winning) trend.”

Kahuku.org also has an online store, with orders rolling in from as far as Japan.

“We’re very busy throughout the summer here,” said Esche. “The summer is when people who don’t live here anymore come back to visit family, and they come in to buy attire. Tourists also come. Lately, we’ve been getting calls asking about the new design (for shirts related to the 2012 season). Every season we have to make sure we have a new shirt.”

Kahuku.org is a part of the Ko‘olauloa Educational Alliance Corporation, a nonprofit organization offering career pathways, partnering with the schools, businesses and communities

for the benefit of students in the Kahuku complex of schools.

What also is unique about Kahuku.org is that Kahuku students are very much involved in the store’s operation, with between 25 and 30 often part of a “work” program during the academic year.

“Students learn retail, production and graphic design, and we do a lot of in-house printing,” said Esche. “They also go out and sell the shirts. For bigger orders, we farm out the silk screening, but we try and keep everything in the community. Everything we make also goes back to the school.”

Kahuku.org also has become a model for other schools that aspire to raise funds through an on-campus apparel supplier. The Hawaii State Legislature recently passed Resolution 77 to pave the way for other schools to follow suit.

Kahuku has five home dates on its 2012 football slate, including a stretch of four in a row, beginning Aug. 17, when the Red Raiders host Punahou in a rematch of last year’s State Title game.