Gather FCU Koloa branch blessed

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kahu Wayne Vidinha, left, leads the blessing of the Gather Federal Credit Union Koloa branch Thursday morning as, from left, Gather staff Richel Gusman and Leslie Libunao, Gather board president Walton Hong and Gather FCU President and CEO Tess Shimabukuro listen.

KOLOA — For the Gather Federal Credit Union Koloa branch, the Thursday blessing by Kahu Wayne Vidinha of Ke Akua Mana Church represents a new page for the space formerly occupied by a jewelry/trinket souvenir shop.

“I used to live right across the Koloa courthouse,” said Vidinha. “The Almeida family had the last houses standing where the new shopping center is coming up.”

Vidinha led the dedication protocol, asking for permission to remove whatever is remaining of the former space’s tenants, and blessing the people who worked on the project as well as all of the people going through the doorway of the new Gather FCU branch.

“I’m related to the Kawamoto family,” said Tess Shimabukuro, Gather FCU president and CEO, as Vidinha remembered the old pool hall, barber shop and other places no longer in existence.

The blessing of the Gather FCU Koloa branch adds to the network of the full-service credit union that offers more than just checking and savings accounts. The Koloa branch joins branches in Waimea, ‘Ele‘ele, two in Lihu‘e and one in Kapa‘a. There are plans for another to be built in Kilauea.

Doors to the Koloa branch opened in September, when Gather FCU personnel moved in to conduct business to avoid “moving in on a month that was, in folklore and mythology, considered a bad month (October) to move in,” Shimbukuro said.

This practice parallels the old-days stories recalled by Vidinha.

Located at 3483 Weliweli Road, the Koloa branch is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays except holidays.

Gather Federal Credit Union started in 1954 when a group of pineapple farmers pooled their resources and did something none of them could have done alone. They collected $595 for lending and purchased heavy equipment to grow their businesses.

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

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