“No influence is so powerful as that of the mother”- Sarah Josepha Hale
On the top of a hill, at 1728 Kaahumanu Ave., Suite D, Wailuku, HI, is a small store that holds the big heart of a fine woman. Marife Cendana owns Frances Nathan Designs, a store named after her ten-year old son.
In 2009, Marife and her husband, Freddie, started the store because she wanted to settle down and care for her baby at home. The business started as a distribution to local businesses like Longs Drugs and Foodland. This provided uniforms for the community to buy at their respective store.
Eventually product demand increased but they faced problems with limited space for distribution. The couple concentrated on building a storefront that catered uniforms to dental and other small clinics.
Frances Nathan soon became known as the only uniform store on the island. They offered variety for medical staff by carrying many brands. (Companies like Cherokee for example only allow one distributor in an area) They also supply clothing for construction and restaurant workers. Marife carries casual wear, shoes and accessories also.
When asked why she continues to run the business after the death of her husband a few months ago she said, “We need to help the people who need them.” While visiting, I met Frances Nathan while he hung out at the store learning the business from his mom. She taught him how to complete a transaction from start to finish.
Nathan is quite but with a spark of light in his eyes. After I related a story of perseverance to him, he smiled and remarked how much he enjoyed it. Nathan Frances is a wonderful blessing to his mother now and from his smile, a promising addition to the world later.