Say Aloha to the Guys Behind Big Island Jewelers



Two brothers take a Chance on the next generation at this Hawaii retailer

Flint Carpenter
Big Island Jewelers
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
66, first generation

Gale Carpenter
Big Island Jewelers
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
58, first generation

Chance Carpenter
Big Island Jewelers
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
27, second generation

 

When Gale Carpenter, owner of Hawaii’s Big Island Jewelers, asked his son, Chance, if he would be interested in joining the family business last year, the 27-year-old’s response was swift and decisive: “I’m all in.” Gale laughs, remembering the exchange. “I said, ‘What? You’re all in? Well, by God, let’s do this!’ I was totally surprised.” Chance, after all, already had a thriving career running a boutique advertising agency and publishing Trim, a global surf-culture magazine. But the lure of “being a part of something that’s lasting” was enough for him to transition out of his media career and start studying jewelry fabrication and metalsmithing. His official title at the store—which was founded by his aunt and uncle, Cassie and Flint Carpenter, in 1983—is goldsmith apprentice. But he’s also taken over the store’s marketing and social media efforts. “When you’re working with him,” Gale says, “you can tell this is someone who wants to do this for the rest of his life.” 

Mutual Admiration

Chance: I think jewelry is really a part of the human story, and it’s evoked passion for thousands of years. I do all the branding for the company…then I’m also trying to focus on absorbing all the knowledge Flint is sharing at the bench. 

Gale: My brother’s been on the bench for 45-plus years. He put Chance under his wing. Chance is my best friend—he’s so kind, so sweet, so super honest. Also, he’s come in here and is Joe Salesman. I almost wish I had some of the personality aspects he has right now. I’m getting a little grumpy after all these years! 
 

Best Laid Plans

Gale: We have done some restructuring with the whole idea of getting Chance involved in this; we did a stock reduction plan. When I signed the papers for it, I owned the jewelry store. But…this is going to be a succession. We’re paying out Flint in the stock-reduction plan. Then Chance and his wife will start to buy me out. It’s a pretty slick plan. 

Chance: The succession plan is amazing. It really allows for some exciting opportunities. 
 

Special Ops

Chance: The fact that my uncle is so patient and so giving of his knowledge is really special. I’m literally sitting three feet away from him, and I’m allowed to interrupt and ask him anything. My dad is also an inspiration, best friend, and a great person to drink a fine scotch with. 

Gale: We’re the official jeweler of the Ironman World Championship. The starting line for the race is about 40 feet from my office. There’s a two-lane road, then there’s the ocean. For a small store, we’re a busy little concern. Flint and I try to get in early every morning and touch base. Lately he’s been saying how…happy he is with how Chance is coming along. He’s really just soaking everything up like a sponge. 

Top: Big Island Jewelers’ Flint, Gale, and Chance Carpenter; below: Flint Carpenter (foreground) at the bench with nephew Chance