KGEFCU initiative involves musicians, business

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Chantal Zarbaugh makes final adjustments to the video cam, musician Kyle LaBenz gets tuned, and Monica Belz gets final photos of the set up before the support local virtual presentation at the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union’s Kilauea Branch.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Musician Kyle LaBenz tunes up while Lexi Jones sets up the video cam, Monday during the support local piece done virtually at the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union, Kilauea Branch.

KILAUEA — Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union’s business development officer, Chantal Zarbaugh, said when the novel coronavirus hit Hawai‘i, musicians were among those losing all their gigs and sources of income.

“They lost everything,” Zarbaugh said. “And with the visitor industry shut down until at least September, what are they going to do?”

Zarbaugh and the KGEFCU initiated a new Support Local campaign that comes on the heels of its successful campaign to support local farmers, ranchers, and encouraging the purchase of locally-produced goods. The consumer benefit was the four successful food distributions that took place at both the Lihu‘e and Kilauea branches utilizing locally-produced food and even marketing products that were produced on Kaua‘i.

The latest Support Local initiative involves local musicians and local business establishments being featured on live broadcast through the Rice Street Business Association Facebook Live venue on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m.

“We pay for the musicians,” Zarbaugh said. “This is part of the support. They need the funds.”

Kyle LaBenz and Nikole Keahiolalo were the featured performers during the Monday night program that originated from the KGFCU, Kilauea Branch that is still juggling a start date.

“This is opportunity for the musicians,” said Lexi Jones, the program’s voice from the Rice Street Business Association. “Kyle landed a contract to produce the KGEFCU musical jingle as a result of this. He has to know how to say their name, even if it’s a long one.”

Running on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., the musicians are paired with business establishments sitting in and talking story about their business enterprise.

“We compensate Lexi for her talent as well,” Zarbaugh said. “We recognize that she has a job and work the schedule of broadcasts so she’s free from that obligation. Her talent is worthy of compensation so we can do that once she’s free of her work schedule.”

Zarbaugh said the featured business establishment for Monday’s program was the Kilauea Fish Market whose owner Coriena MacNeil interrupted her chores to deliver an order of poke that was inadvertently left behind in the shop.

“We buy things from the featured business,” Zarbaugh said. “It’s called support. We bought things so we can have food for the performers and ourselves, too. We just forgot to bring the poke, so Coriena brought it over for us.”

Zarbaugh said it was coincidence that the Kilauea Fish Market just happened to become a KGEFCU Lokahi Partner that very afternoon, being able to share KGEFCU membership benefits with all of its 15 employees and their immediate family members.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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