Bay Area native and Lahaina business owner shares loss, impact after fire

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Sunday, August 13, 2023
Bay Area native and Lahaina business owner shares impact after fire
Bay Area native and owner of Lahaina's CocoNene shop Kent Untermann shares the loss and impact after deadly wildfires.

MAUI, Hawaii (KGO) -- When in Lahaina, locals and tourists alike visit the CocoNene shop on Front Street for items made on the Hawaiian Islands, including home décor, wall art and photo frames.

The fire that swept through Lahaina destroyed that shop and hundreds of other businesses in the popular and historic area.

Kent Untermann is the founder and president of CocoNene and The Art Source Inc., the parent company. He and his wife Lori have been business owners in Hawaii since the 1980s. The two met after Kent moved from Marin, California to Hawaii on a football scholarship. Kent is now figuring out how to move forward after a total loss of the building and everything inside.

Editor's Note: The interview in our video player above orginally aired on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023 on our weekday 5:30 p.m. 24/7 streaming newscast

MORE: Death toll from Maui wildfire reaches 93, making it the deadliest in the US in more than 100 years

The value of the 9,000 square foot building is in the millions and the inventory inside of CocoNene and Tabora Gallery is valued at more than $1 million.

Beyond the structural devastation and the items inside the business, he says three of his nine employees lost their homes. But thankfully all of them were able to evacuate the fires and are now safe.

Hundreds of businesses in Lahaina have been wiped out, some are shells of buildings.

VIDEO: Man records Maui destruction, comes across historic Banyan tree still standing

A Maui resident recorded the wildfire destruction while escaping from it, and comes across the historic Banyan tree still standing.

From restaurants, to historical buildings to popular shops, many have been burned to the ground.

Governor Josh Green described it as "a bomb and fire went off".

Green says rebuilding Lahaina will be a long and costly undertaking, adding it will take time to know the full extent but it be in the billions without a doubt.

Funds are becoming available for businesses impacted by the fires, including federal FEMA money for housing.

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