Jim Killett of Lahaina Galleries has not been starving and has done much better than most, establishing his place as perhaps the leading gallery in Lahaina.
The challenge of being halfway profitable in recent years has been catching up to Jim
, however, leading him to close his Front Street gallery
(see article on page 9).
and the gallery have been fixtures on Front Street
for 40 years, celebrating four decades in business just a month ago.
The beautiful gallery amid Lahaina's many "ticky tacky" shops has brought a bit of elegance to the town.
, in classic hat and Guy Buffet shirt, guards the front door of his Lahaina Galleries
The loss of Lahaina Galleries
has other implications.
Many of its artists have been with Jim
for years and face loss of sales unless they can find other Lahaina places where they can show their art.
is a bit wistful about the closure set for the end of April.
"We have had many glorious years," he
The decision to close is partly due to high rent - a problem that continues to afflict merchants along the street.
, which has established itself as a strong local brand, will continue to operate on Maui
in Wailea under the same name.
In the first months in business, Jim
rode a bicycle to work but now prefers a moped.
"It is too far to go by moped to Wailea," he
joked, so he
will not be spending much time there.
Before the recession hit in 2008, our PR firm did a lot of publicity work for the galleries, and we had fun getting to know its many artists.
We never charged fees commensurate with the work, but no regrets.
One day, Jim
called me upstairs, where he
had a rack of beautiful Guy Buffet print shirts.
gave me one, perhaps thinking he
owed us something more for the discounted work.
This shirt is still one of my favorites.
I call it the most expensive shirt in my closet.
early seventies, Jim
still hasn't slowed down.
Getting older has nothing to do with the sale, he
reported in a conversation outside of Office Max the other day.
was there to inquire about going out of business signs
classic broad-brimmed hat, Jim
has been a familiar site at the galleries many evenings, engaging in low-key conversation with both visitors and locals.
has had a good life here thanks to a lucky decision when he
first landed in Lahaina
to buy a gallery and not an ice cream parlor.
Many ice cream parlors have come and gone, often in the same spaces, but not Lahaina Galleries
- until, that is, this year.
hasn't had to worry about his
paintings melting either.