Fonda’s Daughter is Kaua‘i vintage shop dedicated to father’s ‘treasure hunter’ legacy

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Natalie Fonda sits outside her storefront on a sunny morning in Hanapēpē. Taken May 30, 2024. Photo Credit: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now

In Hanapēpē on the West Side of Kaua‘i, a treasure trove and tribute to a beloved father is celebrating its one-year anniversary.

Fonda’s Daughter, located near the Aloha Theatre on the main drag of “Kaua‘i’s Biggest Little Town,” is an antique shop stocked from floor to ceiling with vintage objects collected by owner Natalie Fonda and her dad Fulvio Fonda.

“There is not a time that I don’t open the door that I’m not excited to come here,” Natalie said of her store, which held its grand opening in June 2023. “This feels like home to me and this is such a place of joy for me … I want other people to feel that too.

“This is a lifetime and this is my dad’s legacy,” Natalie continued. “My life was so wonderful because of my dad and I want him to be excited about this place.”

Natalie rises at 4:30 every Sunday morning to catch the 6 o’clock flight from Līhu‘e Airport to Honolulu, where Fulvio – a full-time resident of O‘ahu since about 1990 – waits to drive her to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace. There, the two spend hours combing through the Hawaiian Islands’ largest open-air market until they’ve filled two large duffel bags with items to resell at Fonda’s Daughter.


Their wide variety of finds range from vintage muʻumu‘us and aloha shirts to tiki mugs, velvet paintings and elaborate menus belonging to Matson ocean liners. (The store also stocks new items, including Whooza Goodog pet products made by Natalie’s relative Mahina Seward Lagmay.)

Fonda’s Daughter in Hanapēpē is filled with vintage treasures of all shapes and sizes. Taken May 30, 2024. Photo Credit: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now

The Fondas’ weekend routine represents a tradition that spans decades: When she was a small child, Fulvio – who’s bought, refurbished and sold antiques since he was a teenager – would take Natalie and her two sisters to the same flea market, pulling them along in a red Radio Flyer wagon. Somewhat like a trio of Dickensian ragamuffins, the little girls would then disperse into the crowd with instructions to identify the most valuable wares.

“I taught all of the girls how to go find 501 jeans or aloha shirts, and by the time I’d get in, they’d have a stack of things already,” Fulvio said. “Other dealers would say, ‘Fonda, how can we keep up with you? You have your own army here.’ All the girls just became so smart.”

But Natalie was the best.

“She’s got something more than the other two. Nicole and Claudia would go into the thrift store and couldn’t find anything,” Fulvio said. “Natalie would go in and find a whole wardrobe … She’s got the eye.”


Natalie’s father was born in postwar Italy to a family of cobblers and tailors who soon immigrated to the United States, where they moved from Buffalo, New York to New Orleans before settling in San Francisco.

Fulvio came of age, learned the cobbler’s trade and discovered the antique business in the City by the Bay: He refurbished old furniture he then sold to a nearby dealer, whom he often drove to auctions around the area. Yet the dealer – a would-be mentor – proved to be a scoundrel who’d frequently lie to buyers and sellers both.

“I learned what not to do … I thought if this jerk could make such a good living at it, I could be a nice guy and do even better,” Fulvio recalled.

Natalie and Fulvio Fonda enjoying a ritual cup of coffee after a morning of treasure hunting in Honolulu. Photo Courtesy: Fonda’s Daughter

Fulvio opened his first antique shop – Fonda’s Gallery – about one year later in 1973. Time passed; he eventually opened a second shop, Uptown Antiques, while flipping Victorian homes throughout the city. His daughters arrived and he built them a haven while sharing his love for things rooted in the past.

“My dad was such a safe place. My mom was an alcoholic growing up, and so we had these two experiences of these two worlds. We were in some ways forced to grow up very quickly,” Natalie said. “Then there was this magic and innocence that my dad taught us … My dad was the adventurer.”


Prior to their move to Hawai‘i, Fulvio would take his daughters to an old munitions storage site above the Golden Gate Bridge. He’d scatter old trinkets, like necklaces, in the grass when the girls weren’t looking.

“I remember particularly, there was one time I was looking down and there was this large earring with all these beads on it … I ran to my dad: ‘Oh, that must have been left when pirates came through here,'” Natalie recalled.

Fulvio frequently regaled his children with romantic tales of piracy and long-lost loot; he introduced them to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island.” When he moved to O‘ahu following his divorce, he would spend evenings seated between his daughters’ bedrooms, reading Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” aloud.

“That goes back to … the romanticism and and his motivation, not for money, but – that’s a story of somebody that teaches you those values of leaving society norms and those drives and being more motivated by the values of the heart,” Natalie said. (Perhaps coincidentally, both Stevenson and Twain lived in San Francisco before traveling to Hawai‘i – just like Fulvio himself.)

A matchbook from the iconic Coco Palms resort that once stood on the East Side of Kaua‘i. Taken May 30, 2024. Photo Credit: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now

Indeed, Fulvio – despite having made a career as a self-described “treasure hunter” – does not appear to be especially profit-motivated or even materialistic. He waxes poetic about “wonderful things,” displaying a deep appreciation for the history, artistry and craftsmanship of the objects he buys, sells or keeps. However, he is content to eventually let things go.

“I just love it. It’s in my heart. I find something wonderful, I bring it home and I keep it for awhile,” he explained. “It becomes part of me, I guess, or I enjoy whatever heart they put into it. I get something from it and then I can let go later.”

Fulvio taught Natalie to ensure customers of Fonda’s Daughter can enjoy similar experiences: “Keep your prices down and let everyone have some of it.”

Now, Natalie and her husband, fisherman Kekoa Seward, are raising their own daughter, Marin, on the West Side of Kaua‘i, where Seward’s family has deep roots. Every morning, the two parents place coins in a steamer trunk; Marin checks the “treasure chest” regularly to see what pirates might have hidden during the night. It’s clear the Fonda love for adventure is alive and well – as is their wish to share that passion with those around them.

“When you’re coming into Fonda’s Daughter, I want you to feel like you’re stepping back into time – that you are on an organized treasure hunt. That every piece here has a memory and holds a memory beyond me and my dad finding it,” Natalie said. “There’s such a history behind every piece and I want you to find something that sparks a memory and brings you back to a place in your life that you loved.”

Fonda’s Daughter is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and from 5 to 8 p.m. during Hanapēpē’s Friday art nights. For more information about the antique shop, visit its website here. You can also follow the business on Facebook and Instagram.

Scott Yunker
Scott Yunker is a journalist living on Kauaʻi. His work for community newspapers has earned him awards and inclusion in the 2020 anthology "Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter."
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