Profile: Island Snow
The Cool Taste of Success
From humble beginnings as a small shave ice and logo shop tucked away in Waikiki’s old International Marketplace, Island Snow has been around the world and back. Literally. Today, from the laid-back vibe of its Kailua Beach Center location, it’s hard to imagine that Hawaii-born Island Snow franchise, with its exclusive brand-name clothing and accessories, once spanned more than 25 stores throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, British Columbia and Australia.
In the mid-1990s, when snowboarding exploded onto the winter sports scene in the United States and Japan, Island Snow jumped into the game and became the top snowboarding outfitter in the Pacific, with Japanese tourists fueling snowboard sales and trendy apparel at the company’s two flagship stores in Honolulu.
By 2008, after 30 years in business, Island Snow founder James Kodama was ready to retire from the hustle of success and retreat back to his roots in Kailua, where he grew up. He closed all but his Kailua store, and is proud that his son Brockton has chosen to perpetuate the family business, which has expanded in recent years as more visitors discover Kailua Town.
Island Snow’s unique clothing line, together with other popular branded active wear, is a big part of its draw, but Brockton will tell you that shave ice – or island ‘snow’ – remains at the foundation of their business. It represents Hawaii, fun in the sun, and sharing aloha with friends and family. The company makes it a point to spread its aloha throughout the year, supporting various community events and sponsoring its own charity fundraiser at the Kailua Beach Center each year to benefit a local nonprofit.