By MEGAN MOSELEY
Tribune-Herald staff writer
It was a special day when Sally Mermel sold her business of 37 years to Tracie Yoshimoto.
“When we went to sign the papers, she gave me this fairy wand that had purple glitter and then made this proclamation of being her ‘fairy godmother’ that made her dreams come true.
“The attorney that day said, ‘of all the things I love to do, I love adoptions best. This feels like an adoption,’” she said.
In October, Yoshimoto became the proud owner of The Most Irresistible Shop, a gift store whose history began 37 years ago when Mermel decided to switch careers and take a chance on a dream.
“I was tired of setting up at craft fairs so I thought, ‘I’ll just start a store!’” She said.
Mermel put her plans into action and opened her first business in a 150 square-foot space on Keawe Street in 1976.
“It was just a tiny store,” she said with a grin. “An architect said that this is how something happens. Someone has the guts to do it, and make it happy and cheerful.”
A happy place, albeit small, and over the years Mermel and MISH expanded. Mermel grew as a local businesswoman, becoming a founder of Black and White Night, winning Business Woman of The Year and opening up Bear’s Coffee among other businesses around Hilo. MISH expanded to a second location in the Prince Kuhio Plaza where, as fate would have it, Yoshimoto was marketing director. Having been a customer both as a child and as a mother, Yoshimoto said she always felt drawn to Mermel’s unique shop for gifts.
“So, one day she said she was going to sell the store. Jokingly, I said keep me in mind if you ever do. She took my name and number down and it’s been in the back of my mind for many, many years.
“It’s a dream of mind that I didn’t really share with anyone, that I wanted to own my own business someday,” she said.
That dream became a reality when Mermel finally decided she wanted to sell her beloved shop in July.
“It was just perfect. It was magical and synchronistic,” she said of selling MISH to Yoshimoto.
With the holiday shopping season in full gear, Mermel is helping Yoshimoto transition into her new position while working with her husband to sell his business, The Fireplace Center. With Mermel’s background in retail, and Yoshimoto’s in marketing, the two appear to be sharing their expertise with each other.
“She’s going to have the tools that I don’t have to take it to the next step,” Mermel said.
“There are so many possibilities. It’s been here for 37 years. It’s established, People know about it. At the same time, there’s so much we can do with social media, our web site and online,” Yoshimoto said.
Yoshimoto intends to integrate more local goods in hopes of expanding her clientele from tourists to more locals.
“We get a lot of tourists by the nature of where we’re located, so I want the Most Irresistible Shop to be a place that locals come to get gifts as well,” she said.
Mermel said she has no doubt that Yoshimoto will do just that.
“I think she’ll be amazingly successful. You can only be successful if you believe you’re going to be,” she said.
Find MISH on Facebook and Twitter or call 808-935-9644 for more information.
Email Megan Moseley at firstname.lastname@example.org.