Upcountry Maui: Shopping in Old Makawao Town

Photograph of a polynesian woman wearing a delicate necklace made of three strands of beaded gemstones.

Find fine polynesian jewelry, beaded gemstones, and more at Maui Master Jewelers. Photo courtesy of Maui Master Jewelers. Photo © Doris Maran. Model: Raina.

There’s no faster way to make an Upcountry local cringe than by referring to Old Makawao Town as another Lahaina. The galleries and boutiques here are on par—if not better—than the shops and galleries lining Lahaina’s Front Street, but you don’t have the tourist kitsch, swarms of cruise ship passengers, and drum machine musicians that would mold it into “just another tourist town.” Instead Makawao prefers to stay off the radar, yet accessible enough so as to attract art patrons and fashionistas who are passionate about what they’re purchasing. Add in the paniolo ranching heritage of the town (there are still hitching posts lining the storefronts), and walking the shops of Old Makawao Town becomes a sight unto itself.


Shopping in Old Makawao Town

Art Galleries and Jewelry

Those interested in fine Polynesian jewelry will enjoy stepping inside Maui Master Jewelers (3655 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-5400, 10am-5pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-4pm Sat.), where works by over 30 local artists are consistently on display. They are the island’s leading source for New Zealand bone and jade carvings and also offer Tahitian pearl jewelry and colored gemstones.

Sherri Reeve Gallery (3669 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-8931, 9am-5pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-4pm Sat.) showcases this ebullient Makawao artist whose distinctive floral designs have graced shirts, cards, paintings, and prints for years. Despite the large number of galleries in town, no visit to Makawao would be complete without at least popping in and having a look around.

Jordanne Gallery and Studio (3625 Baldwin Ave., 808/563-0088, 10:30am-5pm daily) is toward the bottom of the shops on Baldwin Avenue. This plein-air painter landed in Hawai‘i when she decided at the airport during a family trip to Lana‘i that she wasn’t getting back on the plane. With little money and no plan, she let her painting talents pave what was once an unforeseen path.

The first store you’ll notice in the Courtyard shopping area is Viewpoints Gallery (3620 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-5979, 10am-6pm daily), a large, clean gallery which features a rotating array of artists focusing predominantly on paintings.

Back behind the gallery next to Market Fresh Bistro is Hot Island Glass (3620 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-4527, 9am-5pm daily), the island’s most well-known glass studio where you can watch artists blow glass right before your eyes. Although the gallery is open every day, live glass blowing demonstrations only take place Monday-Saturday 10:30am-4pm.

The Kristen Bunney Gallery (3660 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-1516, 11am-5pm daily) provides passersby with playful, animated, and inspiring artwork. The passion behind her work is evident in every piece.

In the building right next door you will find the Makawao Fine Art Gallery (3660 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-5972, 11am-5pm Mon.-Sat., noon-5pm Sun.), a gallery with a collection of over a dozen featured artists. Among the highlights of the works on display are watercolors of wine by Eric Christensen, familial portraits by Bob Byerley, and the perception-altering visual art of Andreas Nottebohm.

Right on the corner of the center of town, Julie Galeeva Fine Art (3682 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-4772, 10am-5pm Mon.-Sat.) showcases the highly textured paintings of this talented Russian-born artist and Maui resident.

Clothing and Gifts

Trendy boutiques and global fashions seem to pop up at every other storefront. Working your way down Baldwin Avenue from the center of town, you’ll hit a number of standouts. Collections (3677 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-0781, 9am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) has been providing men’s and women’s clothing and boutique home furnishings since opening its doors in 1975.

The Mercantile (3673 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-1401, 10am-6pm daily) specializes in boutique women’s clothing. This welcoming shop always has a steady stream of customers.

Past Rodeo General Store you’ll find Aloha Cowboy (3643 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-8190, 9:30am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm Sun.), one of the best stores in Makawao and a place that captures the combined Hawaiian and paniolo spirit. Inside this old building you’ll find western-themed clothing, Makawao-centric items, saddles, horse tack, a cowhide-colored surfboard, and a train going around the ceiling above the wares. If you’re walking down the street and looking for the store, you don’t even have to spot the sign—the smell of leather is noticeable from two storefronts down.

The collection of clanging wind chimes will announce your arrival at Goodies (3633 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-0288, 10am-6pm daily), an eccentric but genuinely artsy clothing boutique that caters to the female crowd.

Check out the Volcano Spice Company (3623 Baldwin Ave., 808/575-7729, 10am-5pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-3pm Sun.), a small shop run by the owner and head chef, who creates handmade rubs and spices out of a kitchen right on the property. There are a few crafts in the store, such as hand-turned wood bowls, but the real stars of the show are the bottles of coffee barbecue rub and the original volcano spice blend, which goes great on seared ahi.

Designing Wahine Emporium (3640 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-0990, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) offers everything from locally made crafts to children’s clothing to a few pieces of menswear—something rare here in Makawao.

Around the corner at Komoda Bakery is the tiny little enclave of Little Tibet (3682 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-2275, 10am-5pm Mon.-Sat.), where an array of ancient gemstones and crystals from all across the world warrant a peek.

At the far end of the same building is Jewels of the White Tara (3682 Makawao Ave., 808/573-5774, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.), an obscure-sounding import store that features home decor and clothing items from India, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, and a handful of other international venues.

Adding to an array of already existing shops in Pa‘ia, Lahaina, and Ka‘anapali, Maui Hands (1169 Makawao Ave., 808/572-2008, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) took over an old health food market and has transformed it into a spacious gallery of consignment craft work.


Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Maui.

Leave a Reply