Trees finds new life with new owner

KAPAA — Ulla Freeman’s reason for buying Trees Lounge was to keep live music playing on the Eastside six days a week.

“We’re really going to concentrate on bands that the folks can dance to,” she said. “I’m really concentrating on bringing bands, duets, individuals who is easy for your ears and easy for your soul. I like to support the artist — be it a musician, a singer, a dancer.”

On Monday, Freeman finalized a deal with former Trees’ owner Mike Myers to purchase the almost decade-old lounge after slow sales in summer, unpaid back rent and an upcoming lease renew date prompted Myers to consider shutting it down last week.

That’s when Freeman stepped in.

“Last week Tuesday I found out about it,” Freeman said. “I told Mark, ‘OK, I would like to buy Trees.’ And he said, ‘I’d like to sell it to you.’”

Trees is slated to reopen Wednesday, Myers said Monday.

“It’s going to continue on,” he said. “I had no idea that was going to happen. It’s a miracle that she did it.”

Freeman expects Trees Lounge to continue running as it has for the last nine years.

“I just expect people to know that we are going to continue and we’ll have quality entertainment for Kauai people, quality food, good bar service, friendly atmosphere,” she said.

Myers said his decision to sell Trees actually began in spring.

“I did it for a decade. I opened it up with my wife at the time,” he said. “I just didn’t have the passion behind it. It was still an awesome place, but I’m ready to move on and do something else.”

But the former owner will stay with the lounge until December to assist and train Freeman.

“I hope everyone supports them, too,” he said. “(Freeman’s) going to take Trees to a whole new level.

After working nonstop for almost a decade, Myers said he’s looking forward to relaxing “for a minute.”

“I might go visit my family for the holidays and come back in the new year and work a different lifestyle,” he said.

The almost 15-member staff of Trees Lounge will continue working there, Myers and Freeman said.

Tree — the pidgin word for the number three — represents the fusion of food, music and drinks from New Orleans, Jamaica and Hawaii.

For the most most part, Freeman said, the menu will remain the same.

Freeman, who’s been a resident of the Garden Isle since 2009, is originally from Finland and has been a patron of the lounge since 2009.

“I have been loving the scene, loving the live music, loving the friendly atmosphere,” she said. “It’s been great to have met people with similar lifestyles and backgrounds as I am, and also people who are totally different where I came from.”

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