It has been said that somewhere behind every success…..there is a wahine! Here is a success story which has effected a lot of us in the Seattle area and behind this particular success story is a charming, compassionate and beautiful wahine…here is her story…..
Generations of us Hawaiians have lived here in the Pacific Northwest for many years. We were scattered throughout the area and though we continued our Hawaiian lifestyles, there was no “Visitors Information” kind of place where one could call or go to to get information on activities and things Hawaiian. Then a young wahine named Gail Stringer came to Seattle and whether she intended it or not, she had a significant impact on the Seattle/Tacoma/Pacific Northwest Hawaiian community culture. The June 2004 issue of the “Hawaii Woman” magazine honored Gail with an article entitled “In the spotlight….Gail Stringer…her store brings the warmth of ALOHA to Seattle ’s gray skies”! Through Gail Stringer and her “Hawaii General Store” on 45th Street in the University area, all of us Hawaiian Islanders and our Hawaiian at heart Ohana, now have a place where we can call or go to maha`oi (find out what’s happening) or wala`au (talk story) or to ku`ai mai (buy stuff, like tickets to Hawaiian events in the area)!
Gail Stringer is the leader (alaka`i) and the spirit (uhane) of the Hawaii General Store. Gail was born and raised in the Hawaii Kai area. Her dad, David Stringer, is a prominent architect in Hawaii and lists among his achievements, designing of the world renowned Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki. Gail graduated from Punahou High School in 1984 and went to Brown University in Rhode Island where she was recruited to play soccer. She graduated with a degree in medical anthropology. She then spent several years back home on Oahu teaching health education and fitness classes (including working on ESPN’s “Bodies in Motion” television show) before moving to Seattle in 1991. She worked in the Health Education field for seven years in Seattle before her kanaka uhane (Hawaiian spirit) and her longing for Hawaii caused Gail and her partner Sara Eaton to open The Hawaii General Store (HGS) in 1998.
If you are an early riser person, you probably have heard Gail’s melodious voice on the Saturday morning Seattle Hawaii Radio Connection show which she co-hosts once a month. If you’ve attended past Benaroya Hall concerts featuring the Cazimero Brothers or the Makaha Sons, you’ve seen Gail on stage, performing M.C. tasks along with Uncle Ed Tanaka (Gail is the tall, slim, good looking lady with blondish hair…Uncle Ed is the other one.) Not so slim now, Gail is hapai (pregnant) and expecting twin girls around Christmas time 2004!
Even though Gail’s life pretty much revolves around making the HGS a successful business, she is still very much into outdoor activities (skiing, rafting, running, surfing, even some golfing) whenever she gets the chance. She is a “die hard” Seattle Mariners baseball and Seattle Storm women’s basketball fan! Gail donates a lot of her time (and goodies from the store) helping local Hawaiian community hui (clubs) in their fund raising events. Gail also mails out hundreds of bi-monthly schedules of upcoming Hawaiian events and activities! She has sponsored a number of Hawaiian arts/crafts/language/music workshops and events at HGS. Mahalo Gail Stringer and your Hawaii General Store staff for your outstanding support of our Hawaiian community activities!
Until we meet again, be kind to each other…..me ke Aloha pumehana kakou (with warmest wishes to all)...a hui hou……..Danny