Made in Hawaii: Martin & MacArthur, crafting koa since the 60s
The owner of the company is Michael Tam.
John Martin founded M & M in 1961, then brought on business partner Douglas MacArthur.
"In the 1960's koa was not highly regarded, it was mostly used for fence posts," said Tam.
Tam bought the company 11 years ago and kept the iconic name. After a career of mostly marketing, on the "continent," Tam went home to where his father grew up.
"They lived literally right across the street from where our furniture workshop is now -- that house isn't there, but you might say it was something seen in the future that I would somehow be connected to Kahai Street again, where Martin and MacArthur is," said Tam.
Some things changed over the years -- like 15 retail stores, online sales and more than 100 employees.
"We're making everything from boxes to bowls, to glass and ceramics now," Tam went on to say.
Other things stayed the same, like elegant and beautiful, high quality, plus hand craftsmanship.
"It's not a factory it's a workshop. Everyone of our craftsman makes a piece of furniture from start to finish. A gallery of craftsman," said Tam.
Over the years, many have admired what comes out this 35,000 square-foot warehouse. Some out of this world furniture, mind-blowing surfboards, doodad after doodad, Christmas ornaments, picture frames, sculptures, jewelry, sun glasses, a wide range of watches, and most all of it koa.
"It's such a sacred piece of wood," Tam said.
Because many people consider it sacred, M & M treats koa with much respect -- never cutting, only buying dead trees that have a life expectancy of between 50 and 80 years, and worth the wait. The really good stuff is "Curly Koa" -- only about ten percent of it make the grade.
"We only chose super curly koa for our furniture, so you can see that rippling effect in all of it," said Tam.
It's an art, and it takes artists 30 years to become master craftsman -- to shape what sometimes is seen as "finger prints of nature."
Martin and MacArthur Goods -- Made in Hawaii.