Operations will continue until December 15.
The Koehnen’s legacy on Hawaii Island started just after the turn of the last century. Freiderich Wilhelm Koehnen arrived in Hilo from Bremen, Germany, in early 1909, at the age of 20, to work for H. Hackfeld and Company, a German-owned business with locations throughout the Island chain. He and Katherine Bocker, who came from Germany to join him, married. In 1929, they purchased Hill Optical, and moved it from selling optics to selling jewelry, silver, and dishware. And it was renamed F. Koehnen, Ltd.
When Fritz and Kate’s daughter Helie married Carl Rohner, a former military officer, the business expanded to include furniture. In 1957 they bought the old Hackfield Building at 76 Kamehameha Avenue.
Today, Fritz and Kate’s son Fred is President of F. Koehnen, Ltd., which manages the real estate holdings, and their daughter Helie continues as president of F. Koehnen, Ltd., which manages the retail operation. Karyl Franks, Helie’s daughter, is the Vice President
Family members have been prominently involved in Hilo and Hawaii Island organizations for decades.
The Koehnen’s web site reinforces the family’s, and the store’s, commitment to the Hawaii Island community for the past 83 years. It has been one of the few stores on the island offering fine furniture, lamps, and a host of accessories. The store looks to be the latest casualty of the island’s economic downturn. Koehnen’s will be missed.
Will Zucker of LAVA 105.3 fm radio contributed to this report.