Hawaii native becomes ‘small-town treasure’ in rural North Dakota

November 11, 2021

(AGWEEK) CROSBY, N.D. — North Dakota wasn’t where Jonathan Kauhako expected to live and work.

“If you would have told me three years ago I’d be living in North Dakota, doing this, I’d be like sure, right, right,” said Jonathan Kauhako, owner of Hindsite Creations, a sublimation print shop in Crosby, ND.


Kauhako recently made the 3,500-mile move to the far northwest corner of ND from his hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii. For Kauhako, someone who’s always felt the lure of the Western U.S., the decision to trade ocean views for those of the open prairie felt right.

“When I was a kid I said I was going to be a cowboy when I grew up,” Kauhako said. “I like it here, I really do. North Dakota is very cool, very nice.”

While he never did become a cowboy, Kauhako said this small community has given him a big opportunity to own his own business. In his shop, Hindsite Creations, he makes and sells printed materials, including custom orders for puzzles, travel mugs and keychains.

“When I left Hawaii I just knew I wanted to do something different,” he said. “When I got to town I noticed a storefront that I learned was empty for a few years. I kept feeling something has to be done with that building, I don’t know what.”

After discussing it with his brother during a month-long trip to Seattle, Kauhako called the owner after his return home to Crosby. One week later, he began renting the building. The idea for a custom printing business came soon after.

“I didn’t want to do something that somebody was already doing here. I wanted to be something different so that we can all push each other forward,” Kauhako said.

With no prior experience starting a business, Kauhako didn’t have to look far to find the guidance and support he needed to bring his vision to reality.

“A person that is a great help to me and she still is when I have business questions is Kaycee Lindsey,” he said. Lindsey is the community development director for Divide County where Crosby is located. Her role in the community is to help businesses start, or expand, and help newcomers like Kauhako settle in.

“He’s kind of our little small town treasure,” Lindsey said. “I call him our small town personalization mall.”

Lindsey assisted Kauhako in navigating the business world, helping him get established as a legal entity and providing him with some of the research and local information he needed to start a business in Crosby.

“I play both pieces of the pie,” Lindsey said. “So being able to support Jonathan in his role as a business, that plays right into the economic development standpoint and supporting our businesses and retailers so we can continue to offer diverse retail to the community members and visitors.”

Kauhako said he is also happy to be part of what strengthens North Dakota.


“North Dakota is awesome. I like it here,” Kauhako said. “To me, it’s very welcoming.”


“I think what makes North Dakota attractive and wanting to put us on the map is that North Dakota has got a lot of opportunities,” Lindsey said.


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