Sentimentally Yours Says Goodbye

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - March 12, 2008
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Heidi Aoki-Phillips
Heidi Aoki-Phillips with her stock of Yankee Candles at Sentimentally Yours

After many years at Windward Mall and reopening at Windward City Shopping Center for less than one year, the collectibles and specialty gift shop Sentimentally Yours closes its doors April 6.

“People aren’t buying as much due to the economy,” notes owner Heidi Aoki-Phillips among other reasons for the closure. “We’ve been struggling to stay open.”

Aoki-Phillips hopes she can help you find the special something you’re looking for as she’s selling all the inventory, which features fragrance puffs, Yankee Candles, curios, display cabinets, and more. Items not sold before the closure will be sold online.

Among the collectibles, Precious Moments figurines are popular, she says, as they are familiar and cute.

“Hummels appeal to an older client as they know the history of how the Hummels started and that they are from Germany,” Aoki-Phillips explains.

The line of hard-to-find collectibles includes brand names such as Boyds Bears, Lilliput Lane, Windstone, Disney sculptures, as well as the Harmony Kingdom line of animal shapes which disguise the box. With the help of two part-timers to keep things running smoothly, she also has stuffed animals, charm bracelets, money leis for graduation and gift wrapping to round out the store’s merchandise.

Aoki-Phillips says she asks lots of questions when she helps someone to find a gift.

“First, I ask if they had anything in mind,” she says. ” Then I’ll ask if they have any hobbies, a favorite color or a favorite animal.”

She says when finding a gift for someone, there are so many questions and so many ways it can go.

“I want the person to have a gift that’s special for them, not just some random gift.”

Sentimentally Yours started out as one of the original tenants at Windward Mall. The original owner, Janet Ogawa, had it as Kris Kringle’s Den, which also had a store at Ward Warehouse in the 1970s before renaming it Sentimentally Yours. Aoki-Phillips started working in the store in 1989 as a sales clerk after she graduated from Castle High School.

For five years, she worked 30 hours a week at Sentimentally Yours, as well as another part-time job with the Disney Store, also in the mall.

“One person thought I had a twin, but I don’t,” says Aoki-Phillips.

In 2001, she had the chance to take over the store because the owner was retiring. In 2006, the store closed at Windward Mall when they were asked to leave the space they were in to make room for another store. Aoki-Phillips says the other options in the mall that were available were temporary and already occupied. Aoki-Phillips knew she wanted to find another location in Kaneohe. By 2007, she found her present location at Windward City Shopping Center.

One of the challenges of running the business, Aoki-Phillips admits, was letting people know that the store was still operating.

Sentimentally Yours is located at Windward City Shopping Center at 45-480 Kaneohe Bay Drive. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 808-235-0411.


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