Summertime in the Hawaiian islands is a special time of year. The storms that bless the country with raging surf calm down and give the northern beaches a rest, and as the southern hemisphere comes alive, we direct our attention towards “Town” on the south shore.
The island is buzzing with visitors on school break, and there’s a casual playfulness in the air and in the water. While winter brings a certain element of danger to surfing that we love, summertime is all about fun. Sure, we’ll occasionally get those massive code-red Tahiti swells that slam into the south shore, but for the most part, we enjoy a less death-defying surf experience that anyone can enjoy. You’ll find punchy rights at Kaikos by Diamond Head, long tubular lefts at Rice Bowls, playful rollers at Queens, slabby lefts at Ala Moana Bowls, and high-performance a-frames at Kewalos, all within a few minutes of each other. The trouble in paradise is traffic, parking, crowds, and long paddle outs, but that all goes with the hustle and bustle of town. Out in the lineup, it’s all smiles, and you’ll likely find a more laid-back surf community that is too blessed to be stressed.
Beyond the lineup, you’ll find a myriad of shops, bars, hotels, and homes amid the sprawling city of Honolulu. Conveniently located across the street from Ala Moana Bowls, the heart of the surf scene, is our flagship store T&C Surf Ala Moana Center. Located in the world's largest open-air shopping center, T&C stands out as your one-stop shop for all your ocean adventures. Here you can find brands such as RVCA, Salty Crew, Reef, Billabong, Herschel, Yeti, and Dakine, to name a few, as well as all your favorite homegrown apparel and hard goods from T&C Surf Designs. You’ll also find a hand-picked selection of T&C surfboards by Master craftsmen Glenn Pang, Makani McDonald, and Tommy Tanaka.
T&C Surf has been a standout at Ala Moana Center competing with global designer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Zara. In 2019, the humble surf shop was awarded the highest percentage sales increase in the Sports/Hobby/Electronics category. We attribute this success to our loyal and local customers on island as well as those visitors looking for an authentic surf brand native to Hawaii. The 5000-square-foot store is jam-packed with all the best surf brand apparel and hard goods such as leashes, fins, surf wax, sunscreen, water bottles, bodyboards, soft tops, and surfboards. You’ll find jewelry inspired by the ocean from brands like Pura Vida, women’s brands like Billabong, and other top surf designers. You can even build your own skateboard with custom decks, wheels, and trucks. You’ll find practically everything you need for fun in the Hawaiian sun at our surf shops. Like a good surf shop should, we have taken great care to handpick the best gear from the top brands at all our stores, especially at Ala Moana Center. If it’s taking up space in our store, you know it’s good. Besides our online store, it’s also the only place you’ll find T&C-branded products.
While the heart and soul of our brand is and always has been the ocean and our beloved surf community, the backbone of our operation is, without a doubt, our long-standing and loyal staff and management. Every level of management, from the shaping bay, to the warehouse, to the retail floor, is run by someone who has been with the company for decades and made T&C a career, not just a job. Rose, the manager at T&C Ala Moana, is no exception. She started way back in 1994, has managed nearly every store location, and has won numerous awards, including Retail Manager of the Year in 2018 by Retail Merchants of Hawai’i.
“I applied as a salesperson 27 years ago, right here at Ala Moana, during the busiest time of year,” Rosie explains. “I then went on to the Ward Warehouse location (now closed), eventually met everyone in management, and was offered a manager training position. I started here at Ala Moana. From here, I went to manage Windward, then Kahala, then to Pearlridge, so that was a bigger transition for me to a much larger store, and I was at Pearlridge for 15 years!”
Rose has been with T&C through busy and slow seasons, in hard times like the 40 days of rain when stores were shut down due to flooding, during uncertain times amidst Covid lockdown and reopening madness, with all the new mandates and ensuring the proper precautions were in place. When asked about her tenure at the company, Rose attributes her long career of supporting T&C to the support she feels from T&C. She says, “It’s the cohesiveness of management and the respect they have shown me over the years. Charlene (Operations Manager) and the upper management go above and beyond in so many ways in-store and out of the store; they respect me as a person. A lot of jobs don’t see you as a friend or family member or something more than just someone clocking in and out. Even Glenn Hirata (General Manager) and the owners, Craig and Linda (Sugihara), respect me as an individual, and just that extra care throughout the years has kept me going. Without that, I don’t believe I would have been here this long. It is really special and rare.”
Rose’s new position as manager of our Ala Moana Center location brings her full circle back to the store where she began her career. The transition comes from the store being a bit shorthanded. Her high energy thrives here, and the exceptional customer service she brings to the table will help keep the stoke alive at our busiest location. “I’m excited to share what I’ve learned throughout the years here, to revive the energy, and build a great team here!” She continues, “I love the busyness of Ala Moana, you get people here from all walks of life, from all over the world, and I love getting to know my new customers. In Pearlridge, my customers feel like family, so I’m looking forward to building that here not only with customers but with the employees as well. Recently, we’ve hired over 15 employees and are still going! Also, I live in town, so I get to see my family more, and it’s closer for me to hula, which is nice!” When asked what she looks for in a new hiree, Rose says, “I look for that smile! If that comes across in the interview, I know it will be on the sales floor too.”
Operations Manager, Charlene Calistro, gives praise to her colleagues saying, "Rosie possesses a "magical aloha" that exudes from every part of her body. Her aloha is sincere which is reflected in all aspects of her responsibilities as store manager, especially in her customer service. When talking to her, it's like talking to a relative. The core value of 'ohana is the foundation to her leadership style. She includes everyone and promotes team efforts which results in a strong team. If there is pilikia, she's quick to resolve it. There is no hesitation to praise and thank individuals who deserve it. Rosie has the ability to gather her people and like a canoe in perfect timing, pull forward...together. It's Rosie's attitude and "magical aloha" that truly make her an asset to our company. I am so very proud of her!"
Stop by Ala Moana Center to see Rose and the crew for all your back to school, and ocean activity essentials!