‘Bali thanks you’: Local island import store supporting family in Indonesia


Every handcrafted item in Bali Makasih Bali Island Imports has a story behind it, even before it crossed the ocean to land on a shelf in Nashville.

The name of the shop, Bali Makasih, means “Bali thanks you.”

“Bali thanks you for coming, for your purchase,” said owner Anak Agung Sayang Wills. “… We create jobs back home. All of this is part of my relatives.”

Wills travels to her home nation of Indonesia to pick up handcrafted items to sell.

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“Every piece has a story to tell,” she said.

“A lot of people ask, ‘How much money do these people get back?’ We buy from the people who make it. There is no middle man between them or us,” said Wills’ husband, Richard.

Buddhas of different sizes line tables along with hand-carved animals. Wooden items depicting Bali’s tree of life hang on the walls, and above are surfboards made of mango trees. A large elephant tusk with multiple elephants carved throughout is on display near the register.

The smell of incense fill the air. “The incense sells well. Everything really sells pretty well. Some of the stuff she picked out, I’m like, ‘Man, I don’t know about that,’ then it would be the first thing to sell. You really, you don’t know,” Richard Wills said.

Anak Agung Sayang Wills moved to Indiana about a year ago. The couple, who have been married for three years, live in Columbus.

Opening a shop was her idea. “I’m thinking, what should I do here when I move to the states? Two years ago we brought a lot of souvenirs from Bali and his (Richard’s) family started to like it, so I’m thinking, ‘Why don’t we just bring all of it here?’” she said.

Bali Makasih opened in February. “The response has been really, really good. A lot of people love it,” Richard Wills said.

It’s going so well, the couple is going to look at opening another shop in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at the end of this month.

A website is also coming soon, Richard Wills said.

“To be honest, if we had three times the store, we could just fill it up. There’s so much clothing. What we did bring in, clothing was gone instantly, the dresses. Those are handmade, too,” he added.

The shop is currently open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

“On the weekends, a lot of times if town is busy, we’ll stay open. If I walk out and look around, the town is dead, then we just close up and go home on the weekends,” Richard Wills said.

Anak Agung Sayang Wills gets asked often why she is in Indiana when Bali is such a beautiful place.

“I have a mission to tell people, that there is a little island (out there),” she said.

Some customers don’t know about Bali before they walk in the door. If they decide they want to visit, Anak Agung Sayang Wills can help with that, too. She has a travel agency in Bali that takes care of accommodations, tours, transport and vehicle rentals.

“There are a lot of people who have been taking cards and are interested in traveling there because a lot of people haven’t heard of it,” Richard Wills said.

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Location: 69 Franklin St.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

Online: BaliMakasih on Instagram, Bali Makasih on Facebook.


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