Shelly Easton: Finding Rainbows
Submitted by: Sister Kristine Saunders, Archives
“Oh, am I late? I was having fun merchandising in Tutu’s and lost track of the time.” Merchandising? Fun? Shelly Easton certainly thinks so. She spends her days having fun making sure that the retail operations at the Polynesian Cultural Center are successful. Meet Shelly Easton, Director of Retail Services at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Shelly grew up on the mainland in California. She and her two siblings spent every summer with their grandparents on the Big Island. They returned home each fall in time for school. While in high school, Shelly worked part-time in a local department store. She loved working retail and started working full-time upon graduation from Burlingame High School. The department store manager, Joyce Dorsey, recognized something special about Shelly and pulled her aside. “Shelly, you have to know how good you are. But you won’t go anyplace without a college degree.” Shelly will never forget Joyce Dorsey and the life-changing advice she gave one day on a sales floor. Shelly went to the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco California and got a degree in Retail Management.
Shelly has made a career of opening new stores for some well-known department store chains. One was in Hawaii. When the store she was with at the Ala Moana mall closed, Hilo Hattie’s was the next step in making Hawaii home for her family. After10 years with Hilo Hattie’s her next step was with Event Network who managed the retail operations at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Then she got her dream job. She was hired to oversee the retail operations for the Center and has been here for 12 years.
Just like Joyce Dorsey mentored her at a critical stage of life, Shelly wants to be that kind of influence in the lives of students at BYU-Hawaii. She wants to be that person who injects the “Kool” factor into Retail for that teachable student. The one who recognizes that results-driven person that she sees when she looks in the mirror. Shelly is excited about Retail because results, good or bad, are almost always immediate. You can see the results of buying choices made at trade shows and the effect of product placement in a store almost immediately. Her job at the Center is unique because she does something different every day and is not tied to an office and computer.
Over the years Shelly has met many famous people. “Joe Montana and Dwight Clark and their wives were customers of mine and really super nice and fun to work with.” She also has a special memory and picture with President and Sister Uchtdorf. “I was extremely impressed with Elder Uchtdorf and his wife Harriet. I was able to give them a tour of the stores before the dedication of the Marketplace and again two years ago at Christmas time when they were here for a family vacation.” President Uchtdorf really liked the wooden decoration, so “we painted Mele Kalikimaka on it and gave it to him.”
COVID made a huge difference to the retail operations at the Center. Between June and September 2020, Retail lost all but two employees, Shelly, and her helper Jamie Kelley. Initially, the downtime was a blessing because they did projects that there wasn’t time to do before COVID-19. Facilities were painted, cleaned, and inventoried. Most days, Shelly and Jamie filled orders from the website. They would pull orders in the morning and the students who were still here mailed the orders in the afternoon.
With COVID-19 restrictions lifted and the number of employees almost half of those before COVID-19, the team approach to doing a job has become critical. During extremely busy times employees are cross-trained so that they can move to the warehouse to help or warehouse people can help at the stores. Employees like knowing that they are part of something greater than themselves. They are willing to step in where needed to put cultural beliefs into action.
Shelly and her two boys live in Kailua. The work environment and people she works with keep her at the PCC. “The culture here is more than just empty words. It is coming from a true place. I feel blessed to be here every day. Some days are cloudy and dark, and then there will be a rainbow.”
Chef’s Christmas Special at Pounders
Submitted by: Nina Jones, Digital Commerce Specialist
Master Chef Graham Elliot of Pounders Restaurant has put together an amazing way to celebrate the holidays right here in beautiful Laie. Along with his incredible daily menu, a special 3-course holiday dinner specially created and presented by Chef Graham will be offered for $65.00.
Served December 20 – 23, 2021 from 5:00 pm to closing, and from 11:00 am until the last seating at 2:45 pm on Christmas Eve. Closed Christmas Day. Reservations strongly suggested – (808) 293-3287, poundersrestaurant.com, or click here.
Free Admission to Islands of Polynesia for BYUH Students and Faculty
Submitted by: Eric E. Workman, Executive Vice President & CMO
Beginning Dec. 13th BYUH Students and Faculty can once again enter the Island Villages of the Polynesian Cultural Center free of charge. A BYUH ID must be presented at the Ticketing Office where a ticket and wristband will be issued to the BYUH ID holder only. Until further notice and per City mandate a vaccination card or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours will also be required.
Students and faculty attending an approved BYUH class in the Villages, most often before the Center is open to the public, will continue to present their ID to the Security Officer at Gate 10A for entry to and from their class only.
Unless attending a specific class, a wristband and ticket are required to enter the Islands.
The Story of La Kuokoa
Submitted by: Moniqueca Kaufusi, Hawai’i Sales, Polynesian Cultural Center
This amazing story of La Kuokoa detailing the historical 1843 effort to gain diplomatic recognition for Hawaiian Independence by both Great Britain and France is illustrated and prepared by Emily States, an emerging graphic artist who co-owns Kaulumaika with her husband, Malu. We acknowledge both her commitment to the preservation of important Hawaiian history and her generous permission to allow the Polynesian Cultural Center to share her work with our Ohana.
Emily is working on other native Hawaiian and English versions of Hawaiian histories on her website, Kaulumaika.com along with an overview of her and her husband’s other endeavors in preserving the language and spirit of Hawaii. You’ll also find an online shop focusing on fabrics, journals, and other items which display her amazing artwork.
Submitted by: Lau Niumatalolo
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