Island-inspired Furnishings

Bea Raco has been selling furniture on Kaua‘i since 1979. Coco Zickos photos

By Bea Raco
Owner, Lee’s Furniture

Please tell us about your business.

Lee’s Fine Furniture is a mom-and-pop furniture store established in 1979. We carry a full line of furnishings that include living, dining, bedroom furniture, mattresses, accessories/décor, accent pieces and lamps. We have imported from various Asian countries as well as the Mainland. Our pieces range from one-of-a-kind items to traditional home furniture. We also offer interior design services to include new and/or current furniture.

Where did you grow up?

Vietnam.

How did you get started in this business?

I grew up with hardwood furniture. After moving to Hawai’i in 1970, I realized that there was no furniture store that sold Asian furniture and art. Teak, rosewood, rattan and wicker furniture were rare on the island. I wanted to share that with the community, and that’s when I decided I would import my own line of furniture.

What sets your business apart?

We have catered to our local clientele since opening our doors in 1979. We offer island functional furniture and interior design services. We don’t just design spaces in our client’s home, we take the time to listen to our customers, get to know them and then create a living space comfortable for them. It’s all about gaining their trust and helping to make their house a home.

Raco also carries a line of island-style accessories

What motivates you to get up and go to work?

It is very fulfilling and gratifying knowing that we have made changes in people’s lives. Anyone can sell furniture, but when you take the time to listen to your customers’ needs and find out what look they are trying to achieve in their space and then accomplish it, it is very rewarding knowing that our clients’ rest good at night on their new mattresses, have great conversations during meal times on their dining tables and laugh, relax and make new memories on their living room sets. In addition, we have been blessed to service three generations of many island families who have come to place their trust in doing business with Lee’s. Our motivation is our responsibility to our island community in the products we offer and the service we deliver.

Do you have a motto or philosophy for doing business?

Only the best is good enough for our customers. We put our heart into our service and build relationships earning their trust.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your business?

Keeping up with trends, time and cost.

What do you find rewarding about this business?

Relationships. We have an established reputation and have been able to fulfill many expectations.

Who are your mentors?

Various suppliers, most exceptionally Steven Lee, one of my first overseas suppliers. I have had many inspirational people in my 32 years of doing business. Their expertise in the field has helped guide me through many good times and tough times with their understanding.

How do you measure success?

Our success is measured by return customers, suppliers and vendors who continue to support us and our loyal staff.

What are your plans for the future?

We hope to continue to serve Kaua’i for another 32 years.

Are there any businesses/community organizations that you’ve found helpful?

We are thankful that organizations like the Department of Veterans Affairs, KEO and ARC have believed in us and continue to do business with us.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I would devote more time in helping develop a small business in farming to increase our local food production on Kaua’i, and develop an integrated environmental/cultural/agricultural education program.

Lee’s Furniture
4281 Rice St.
245-6369

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