Keeping Kailua trendy and fashionable in cutting-edge active wear is what Island Snow owner James Kodama has been known for over the past three decades. As Island Snow apparel is progressive and fun, Kodama is applying the same business traits to his ongoing work with the community and non-profit organizations, particularly Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation.
“One of the things we really latched onto is the HCCF,” says Kodama. “My dad passed away from cancer when I was 10. It is hard enough as a parent now, I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be if you have a kid who has cancer. HCCF does an incredible job of supporting the parents, some of whom have to quit their jobs just to take care of their kids.”
For the second consecutive year, Island Snow is working with partners and vendors to throw an end-of-summer, beach block party, raising funds for the HCCF cause.
As September marks National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Kodama is tentatively setting the beach party date for Sunday, Sept. 3, during the peak of Labor Day weekend, and he is certain it will be at Kailua Beach Center. Excited to join the bash for the second year is major retail vendor and activewear luminary Stussy. Kodama wanted to amp up the fundraiser as much as possible, and it appears that won’t be a problem, as this year’s party will offer thousands more prizes and raffle giveaways than last year, including signed NFL Super Bowl jerseys and memorabilia.
Another instrumental player in helping to make the party as successful as possible is Kailua property management company Kaneohe Ranch, to which Kodama gives a tremendous amount of credit. Working with its tenants, Kaneohe Ranch has helped attract many local vendors including Lanikai Juice, Aloha Salads, Laughing Dog Daycare and lunch wagons such as Camille’s On Wheels and Chef Sean Priester’s Soul Patrol.
“This year we are anticipating a lot more. Kaneohe Ranch is playing a huge part in this, I can’t say enough about how well they’ve supported us,” says Kodama. With food in no short supply (including, of course, Island Snow’s ever-popular shave ice), entertainment also is being planned and stacked as the event approaches. As last year, there will be skateboard and bike demos, dance troupes and reggae and other music playing throughout the afternoon. Kodama is currently working on providing a beer garden, too.
Speaking about last year’s party, Kodama says, “It was great, but I’ll be honest, I was hoping we could even do more, and that’s why we’re really pushing bigger this year. We were going through some learning curves, and now it feels good, and that’s why we’re doing this again.”
Taking a back seat professionally, Kodama was set to retire in 2008 before his son Brockton, a University of Denver graduate, approached him with interest in continuing the family business, which at one time had locations throughout the mainland, Canada and Australia, but now only maintains its Kailua location. Kodama is proud to see Brockton and his wife, Lisa, overseeing the expanded and renovated Island Snow location. Island Snow embodies the wholesomeness of an active and healthy beach town, and after 30 years of business, remains focused on community values.