Ward store did not make dollars or sense

The coroner’s report on Ward Centre’s H-Zone apparel store should list the cause of death as “lolo idea.”

It was never the right choice to place a store where the foot traffic for sports apparel was limited and the decor resembled a seasonal store selling holiday-gift sausages. “Lose money,” as my Grandpa Kubo used to say.

It wasn’t the product. I go to Kailua’s Target five times a week and the checkout lines are jammed with tourists buying anything that says “Hawaii.” OK, it was the lack of products. In trying so hard to protect and promote the H logo — even changing the name from the catchy Rainbowtique — UH limited itself from expanding more into Rainbow and island-chain designs. ButiGroove and Barefoot League are among companies proving there’s a market — and demand — for an extensive and innovative merchandise line.

Now that UH is getting out of the off-campus-store business, it will continue to succeed in an area that it does best: licensing. Right now, H-licensed products can be found in supermarkets, service-station markets, and other places where they sell, well, things. UH does not need its own store to sell products; it just needs its products to be sold in stores. No overhead, no salaries.

It also would be wonderful if UH re-opened the Stan Sheriff Center apparel/merchandise store during the school hours and weekdays. It used to be a great opportunity for the many Lower Campus visitors to pick up souvenirs. Sure,there’s the debate whether it’s worth it to staff a store during non-event hours. But unlike the H-Zone, the Sheriff Center store is rent-free and in a convenient location.

* * * * *

UH baseball is 7-for-7.

All seven seniors will be graduating tomorrow or this summer, according to coach Mike Trapasso.

Kudos to third baseman Josh Rojas, outfielders Marcus Doi and Alex Fitchett, and pitchers Brendan Hornung, Casey Ryan, Kyle Mitchell and Isaac Friesen.


  1. islandman May 12, 2017 8:59 am

    1st of 2nd, terrific grad rate for the baseball seniors.

  2. Stephen Tsai May 12, 2017 9:26 am

    It’s impressive because baseball players usually don’t redshirt and many are JC transfers

  3. orioles4eva May 12, 2017 9:27 am

    Another beautiful day in Hawaii, lucky to live here.

  4. Warrior Dave May 12, 2017 9:39 am

    After 12 years in retail, from Stock clerk to Buyer, I must say that H Zine was a great idea but poorly managed.

    During the dream season of 2206-07, merchandise racks were empty on the floor. Sales staff said they were too busy to go upstairs and bring more merchandise down. Even at H Zone, most times there were tons of boxes on the floor. I wonder how many opportunities were missed? Lastly, H Zine is in direct competition of their own bookstore. That doesn’t make sense as they should be working together.

    Licensing is easy but the agreement called for only 10%. That’s not enough so I hope it changes.

  5. al May 12, 2017 9:47 am

    WDave…I’ve experienced this quite often as well.

    The other thing is location, location, location.
    Should have negotiated an Ala Moana Ctr site with heavy foot traffic. They never were able to garner their share of the tourist market.

    Oh, well.

  6. Jonj May 12, 2017 9:48 am

    The product they sold was horrible! Everyone I went in there I walked out unhappy! I find better UH apparel at fitted

  7. Jonj May 12, 2017 9:48 am


  8. Stephen Tsai May 12, 2017 11:14 am

    You’re right. Ala Moana and the airport are the perfect locations

  9. Da Punchbowl Kid May 12, 2017 11:15 am

    I have bought lots of UH gear from H-Zone and other places over the years. My favorite item of all was a Black UA Polo given to me by a dear friend when I was in the hospital quite few years back.

    Is there any single person or entity who oversees all of the UH merchandising at all locations?

  10. Andrew May 12, 2017 12:26 pm

    Not sure how well they do, but Utah and BYU have a shared store in the Salt Lake Airport

  11. Andrew May 12, 2017 12:27 pm


    With Ala Moana rent though? they’d have to really think they’d do well to even make that a viable option

  12. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 1:45 pm

    Also having shirts made of low grade
    arm pit smeller polyester doesn’t help.
    Whatever happened to the UH cotton
    pollovers popular during the “rainbow”
    years. I still have one but a bit snug.

  13. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 1:49 pm

    License UH logo can be unlimited with creative
    marketing. Toys like Barbi and GI Joe but featuring
    football players—gotta get all 22 plus the kicker. 🙂

  14. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 1:51 pm

    And how about gasoline?
    Wouldn’t it be fun to fill up with
    “Rainbow” super charge petro?
    There’s a few million dollars right there.

  15. al May 12, 2017 1:51 pm

    High rent yes. It is why I suggested that they negotiate a lease agreement. As a state entity and a non-profit perhaps some contra account might have been a win-win situation.

  16. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 1:53 pm

    How about a “Hawaii Logo Rainbow”
    car? Electric and/or conventional.
    Heck, how about a big truck.
    Toyota with their strange brand names
    might be interested. 🙂

  17. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 1:56 pm

    Nike could come out with a UH logo shoe
    ala Michael Jordon type. A whole line up.
    Money honey 🙂

  18. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 1:58 pm

    Gloves, baseball bats, uniforms for kids…

  19. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 1:58 pm

    Fishing gear and lures 🙂

  20. Akamai Okole May 12, 2017 1:59 pm

    Great Afternoon All!

    I recall getting into BOI and the first thing I would see is the store in the concourse with all kine BSU merchandise.

    Das it.

  21. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 2:01 pm

    I once caught a big bass
    on a Schlitz Beer Can
    opener promo piece…

  22. Ipu Man May 12, 2017 2:02 pm

    Hmmmm… UH beer anyone?

  23. Naks8 May 12, 2017 5:16 pm

    It was too expensive. Unless you go uh or went uh you don’t need to buy an under armour polo for $70. Even then that’s steep. Hard to sell that to tourists or casual fans

  24. Whitey May 12, 2017 5:22 pm

    Can’t understand why UH is struggling with their marketing when they have a school of business or is it a school of monkey business. They have many students in various curriculum which requires marketing and yet they can’t solve a relatively simple marketing problem which requires common sense. Oops I forgot common sense is no longer tolerated in universities. All they have to do is read the suggestions made by the Tsaikos.

  25. greenthumb May 12, 2017 6:45 pm

    I’m sorry that a dedicated UH apparel store couldn’t do better and think UH should take this opportunity to look around at other schools’ bookstores for an idea of how it’s done. Another state school that comes to mind is UW. Excellent product lines of logo items, but also books and regional omiyage (as our blog host mentions, let’s tap into not just the home market but visitors, too).

    And if UH is taking the on-campus approach, rebate some of the parking cost for people who buy stuff. (Again with the UW example, you get a small chunk of time free, and so the little lot has good turnover, and for us here would help reduce the “special trip” hassle.)

  26. BigFan May 12, 2017 6:51 pm

    In dealing with Ala Moana Ctr. in the past, they can play some hardball. Sometimes it seems like all they care about is the money. UH may have a tough time negotiating a deal. Don’t know if this was already tried. Now, the airport is also high rent but controlled by the state so maybe?? Butttt if they treat UH like they do with the stadium…… They may just have to have Duty Free Shoppers try to sell their stuff but they can be tough to deal with too.

  27. burro sabio May 12, 2017 7:25 pm

    Ben Jay thought he was smarter than the bookstore. Look at him now.

  28. hilosupaman May 12, 2017 8:05 pm

    If memory serves the Under Armor contract is over this year. Is this accurate?

    Part of the problem is that Under Armor is expensive. They also put little to no effort in coming up with items for UH. Men’s volleyball uniforms show that there are plenty of designs out there that would be popular in Hawaii.

    Bring back Nike! Don’t even have to be same uniforms as JJ era

  29. hilosupaman May 12, 2017 8:07 pm

    The idea of expanding sales though local companies is a great idea also!

  30. cappie the dog May 12, 2017 9:15 pm

    I could never find a replica jersey of Antoine Goodlow.

    16 points against College of the Ozarks.

    I was there.

  31. cappie the dog May 12, 2017 9:21 pm


    I think Kahala Mall is worse.

    We didn’t need another Ross’s.

    It is ridiculous that Oahu has only one book store.

  32. 808WarriorFan May 12, 2017 9:50 pm

    The sad part is I don’t think people realize this … for every $50 you spent you’d get a coupon for a sport based on the time of year you made your purchase … 2 years ago I bought 2 Under Armour “UH” golf shirts worth $150. The purchase time was mid-summer so I got 2 coupons for a fall sport so obviously I used them for football. A regular General Admission ticket is/was $32.oo to I got 3 coupons. Used them for football for $32 X 3 = $96.00 … do the arithmetic … I got 2 UA/UH golf shirts for $150 and throw in $96.00 for football tickets … I’M GONNA MISS THAT PLACE !!!

  33. DaveLetterMan May 12, 2017 10:38 pm

    Looks like we got a kicker:

  34. NanaGwen May 13, 2017 5:47 am

    UHM would sell more of their clothing line if they had a spot in Walmart or Sam’s Club. While both stores may sell some of the UHM sports line, they don’t sell everything, and their supplies are limited or non-existent around Christmas.

  35. Inyoface May 13, 2017 7:11 am

    Does UH make money off any apparel it sells anywhere in the US? Most my stuff I get are from mainland stores.

  36. kapakahi May 13, 2017 7:35 am

    Just what the doctor ordered…….a PK…..


  37. kapakahi May 13, 2017 7:39 am

    Walking on

  38. Old School Dave May 13, 2017 9:24 am

    Apparel sales are important, but I’m concerned about UH’s ability to attract big-time (wealthy private and corporate) donors to the program, such as the Ching Family Foundation. There seems to be a disconnect there. Relying on the State is shaky, at best.

    Congratulations to all of the graduates!

  39. Old School Dave May 13, 2017 9:28 am

    When I think of the Wiki Wiki bus at the airport, I think of the noisy motors, fumes, crowded quarters, and surly drivers = Welcome to Hawaii. A more pleasant experience was going to the old Wiki Wiki Coffee Shop at Ala Moana SC back in the day.

  40. Stephen Tsai May 13, 2017 10:11 am

    New post: http://hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=43450

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