KAPAA — Climbing over the rubble that blankets the floor of their store, “Curious…”, Bryce Gawdun and his partner, Andrew, smile and laugh.
“This won’t stop us,” Andrew said as he walked past the passenger side door of a Dodge Dakota pickup truck parked in the middle of their shop.
About 1 a.m. Thursday, that white Dodge Dakota vehicle crossed over the left lane of Kuhio Highway onto the sidewalk, plowing through the corner of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers’ storefront on its way through the side wall of the Gawduns’ store.
The driver fled the scene. There were no injuries.
Bryce and Andrew received a phone call and arrived to their store at 5 a.m., unnerved by what they were told on the phone.
“We got a call that there was an accident in front of our shop. We heard that there was a car in the store,” Bryce said. “We were cracking up on the way here like, ‘Oh my God they are so over exaggerating.’ We were kind of joking about how it’s possible something could hit it. And even when we drove up we saw (Hawaii Life’s store) and were like ‘Oh my God they got it way worse than us!’ And then we turned the corner to see that the whole truck is inside our shop!”
And as of noon Thursday, the truck was still in their store.
“We got a call this morning and the police said that the truck inside the business is not needed for evidence, so the landlord has to tow it out of there, which is crazy,” Bryce said. “I’m sure they’ll know who the vehicle belongs to, but when they showed up there was no one here.”
An investigation continues.
Bryce said renovations will take about four months, which will put a dent not only in their business, but also in their personal lives.
“We’re in the middle of adopting a baby, so it’s all kind of happening this year including this, so there’s a lot going on,” he said. “But we’ll rebuild; we’ll come back.”
Bryce and Andrew build furniture, cards and other home accessories. Curious… is closed for the time being, but that doesn’t mean the two have stopped serving customers.
“We actually had a couple people walk by the store this morning and said, “Oh my God we were gonna come in here because we we’re getting married this weekend and wanted to buy a frame from your store.” Andrew said.
Bryce said only one frame survived the crash. And fortunately for the couple getting married, it was the one they wanted.
“It was like a beacon in the distance. So we gave it to them and told them that we can be a part of their wedding story,” he added.
Curious… has only been open for a month, the outpouring of support and love from surrounding businesses has been overwhelming.
A couple of Java Kai employees saw the store this morning and couldn’t believe what had happened.
“The entire building, from what I saw, was driven through,” said Brittney Riskus. “When (Bryce and Andrew) came in, I was just like, ‘You guys, I am so sorry.’ And that’s all I could really do, is say sorry.”
Riskus and her co-workers didn’t stop at sympathy, they also gave Bryce and Andrew free coffee and breakfast.
“All we have here is a small community and each other,” Riskus said. “It’s not like we’re a big city where people come and go here. People come here to stay. And the fact that they built a business shows that they wanted to add to Kapaa. And for someone to drive into it, was devastating. They’re family. They’re Java Kai’s neighbors but yet, they’re family to Kapaa.”
Bryce admitted that he was emotional early Thursday morning. But he knows this setback will make them stronger.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason, so I don’t want to think otherwise,” he said. “Everyone has a lesson to learn from it, and ours is whatever, we’ll figure it out.”
The two men designed and built the inside of their store, so they said they know what they have to do to fix it. While waiting for renovations, Bryce said they are looking for anyone willing to rent out a pop-up shop for a few months.
Andrew said it’s hard to imagine, but there was a table in the middle of the store where he would stand everyday where the truck is parked. He’s thankful the accident occurred while no one was around.
“Not to sound all spiritual or anything, but I’m not going to allow myself to get terribly upset by it,” Andrew said. “I casually joke that there was a defect in that wall anyways, we didn’t like it. We wanted to redo it.”