Tapani Vuori has “hit the ground running” as Pacific Whale Foundation’s New Regional Manager, says Greg Kaufman, President and Founder of Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF). Tapani comes to the PWF with more than 25 years in retail, the last nine as Maui Ocean Center’s Retail Director.
“I am originally from Finland and still remember vividly the day I stood at the bus stop bidding goodbye to my parents at the beginning of my journey all the way across the World, via few stops along the way.” Vuori says. “The Maui Ocean Center was a great organization that was a catalyst for me personally in becoming more interested and active in environmental issues, not only locally here on Maui, but also globally. I graduated from UCLA in 1987 and came to Hawaii in early 90’s, first Honolulu, and now on Maui for about 10 years. I am very excited to be part of creating a global brand that can and will change how we think about and take care of ‘our’ environment.”
Vuori directed the high-end retail operation at Maui Ocean Center and managed a staff of 26. While there, he also led the opening of a retail operation at Maui Ocean Center’s sister aquarium in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 2007.
Vuori previously served as the General Manager of Finlandia Furniture and the General Operations Manager of Computer City/Compuworld, a computer superstore with 135 employees. Vuori has also founded two businesses. Moomin Shop is a successful specialty cartoon shop and Pilo Furniture was a high-end European specialty furnishings company.
“Tapani brings extensive experience in all phases of retail management to this job,” says Kaufman. “We are especially impressed with the many demanding assignments and challenges he has taken on during the course of his career, his entrepreneurial outlook and his progressive approach to management He arrives at an exciting time of growth for our retail operations. Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Store on Front Street in Lahaina has recently expanded in size from 1312 square feet to 2320 square feet. This is a huge step forward for us, and will give our Lahaina customers a greater choice of products and a more comfortable shopping environment.”
The stores serve visitors and residents of all ages. PWF stores currently sell educational books and videos about whales and the oceans, logo shirts and clothing with an ocean theme, cameras, binoculars and gifts. The stores support PWF’s marine education, research and conservation programs.
“Our vision for PWF retail operations is to create a new ‘ECO-RETAIL’ concept that will take retail to a new level where everything we do we analyze on its impact to environment,” says Vuori. “Starting from the beginning of the supply chain to how the product gets hopefully reused and recycled minimizing our impact to environment. Recently we upgraded all our halogen lights to LED light with the partnership of State of Hawaii ‘Lighting the Future’ which will eliminate about 200,000 pounds of CO2 from our environment. We will develop and source new innovative cutting edge green products that are functional, of great value, and fun. This will be the new PWF Retail operations.”
PWF’s Ocean Stores are located at 612 Front Street in Lahaina and at The Harbor Shops at Maalaea next to Maui Ocean Center. Store hours are 6:30 am to 8:30 pm daily in Lahaina and 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily in Maalaea. To learn more, visit wwww.pacificwhale.org.