Staying In Tune At Coconut Grove

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - October 22, 2008
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Coconut Grove Music’s Mark Scrufari

Longtime Kailua landmark Coconut Grove Music has plans to expand.

“We’re always trying to do better,” says Mark Scrufari, a bass player and co-owner of the 20-year-old shop. “We want to expand conservatively and grow the business. We are the only music store on the Windward side.”

Coconut Grove buys, sells and trades new and used guitars, amps, ukuleles and other musical instruments. It also carries guitar cases, picks, drumsticks, microphones, reeds, stomp boxes, songbooks and other musical accessories. The line of guitars includes Fender, Squire, Parker, Morgan Monroe, Eastwood, Gibson and more. Lessons for beginner- to advanced-level students also are available.

It’s a one-stop shop for musicians.

“We make sure we have stuff in stock,” Scrufari assures. “It seems like there are so many musicians in Hawaii. Even the people who do it for fun are just really good musicians. And because there are a lot of kids playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band video games, they think it’s pretty cool, and they want to learn something. Hopefully, they have the determination to stick with it so they can learn enough so they can start enjoy playing it.”

Scrufari says although he plays it cool, he finds it exciting when one of the stars from the ABC show LOST drops by to browse.

Scrufari recalls Coconut Grove Music started 20 years ago when the owner of Hungry Ear Records, Luke Yamashiro, started selling instruments. Coconut Grove is a partnership with Yamashiro, attorney Kimo Leong and construction company manager Mark Tamashiro. When Yamashiro passed away in April 2005, he left his share of the shop to his sister Roxanne, and her husband, Scrufari, who runs the dayto-day operations. Scrufari grew up in New Jersey, worked as an art director with a division of McGraw Hill in New York, and played bass guitar in some bands in Manhattan.

These days, one of the challenges of running the music boutique is competing with the Internet.

“We try to carry stuff that the big Internet companies don’t carry,” says Scrufari. “When you are buying a guitar over the Internet, you have to worry about it being shipped, and it’s usually not set up for you. We take care of our customers, and that’s the biggest thing we can offer. So if we sell a guitar, we automatically set it up for them.”

Musicians love to play, so Coconut Grove provides amplifiers and drums as a sponsor of a blues-rock open-jam session from 6 to 10 p.m. on the last Sunday of each month at Tiare’s in Kailua. Coconut Grove customers and other musicians jam.

“It’s always nice when you can help people out, whether it is a beginner on guitar or someone who needs a different sound out of their setup,” Scrufari explains. “We get everybody from the first-time guitar player to people who are playing every night.”

Coconut Grove Music is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday. The store is located at 418 Kuulei Road. For more information, call 262-9977 or log onto

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