The high desert of Hailey, Idaho, doesn’t look much like the lush jungles and bustling cities of Vietnam, but for Vinh Tran and My Mai, this place feels like home.
My moved to Hailey over a decade ago following in the footsteps of family while her husband, Vinh, joined her a year ago. They like our area so much, they decided to raise a family here, and even named the brand new store they just opened in Hailey after their young son.
“Kuwi” means “Little William” in Vietnamese, which is what they call their 17-month-old son.
“He’s the real owner,” Vinh joked.
Kuwi Gift and Variety Shop offers a variety that My describes as a “little bit of everything.” She and Vinh explained their business inspiration as we prepared for a ribbon cutting at their store on Main Street in Hailey, next to Saigon NK Nails, which is owned by Little William’s grandmother and great aunt.
“It’s difficult to find a lot of things here and a lot of things are expensive, so we try to offer something for everyone and to keep it affordable, like baby and children’s clothing, adult clothing, shoes, bags, stationery, gifts,” My said, adding that, “most items we carry are in small quantities, so they are unique.”
Keeping a wide, but small variety will allow Kuwi to constantly offer new things, many of which will have an Asian-theme. “We try to find unique and special things like the ceramic cups from Japan—things that would be nice to give as a gift,” My said.
The team at Kuwi would also like to know what the community wants and needs. Their low inventory business model allows them to quickly adapt. “We will ask our customers what they want,” Vinh said.
Part of their business base will come from the 50 or so members of the local Vietnamese community, but Kuwi wants to be a store for everyone. Both Vinh and My said they really like the sense of community in Hailey and hope their store is a positive part of it.
“People are really friendly and nice here,” Vinh said.
“We are happy to be part of this community,” My said, “and we hope it will appreciate what we are bringing to it.”
For more information about Kuwi Gift and Variety Shop, call (208) 358-3969 or check out their Facebook page.