WAIMEA — The common concern among shoppers was the poke, and bento lunches, Tuesday when Ishihara Market reopened under the ownership of the Kalama Beach Corporation.
“I just came to see if they still have the multi-grain rice,” said Jill Kouchi who drove in from Wailua.
Other shoppers stopped by for a container of poke amidst a common thread of “I’m having poke withdrawls because it’s been a week.”
The reopening came on the heels of a rededication ceremony led by Aletha Kaohi, a Kauai Museum Living Treasure, and Carrie Newcomb, who exchanged her Ishihara Market wear for that of a practitioner.
Kaohi said the ceremony was likened to a birth where the piko of the Sullivan ‘ohana, symbolized by ti leaf lei created by Sullivan Family of Companies (Kalama Beach Corp.) people, was set free by members of the Ishihara family, symbolizing the letting go by one family, and the setting out by Sullivan, or Kalama Beach Corp.
Darren Curammeng is the new store manager, leading his team of about 40 employees — all of them moving over to the Sullivan Corp. after serving with the Ishihara family.
“The legacy built by the Ishihara family will continue,” said Jenai Sullivan-Wall, president and CEO of the Sullivan Family of Companies. “The employees believe in the family values and we are humbled they all chose to continue with the Sullivan Corp. Our community has the same values, and it is important to continue this legacy. The Ishihara family built this store, and we are here because of them.”
Vernon Ikebe, vice president of sales and operations for Kalama Beach Corp., said the employees have a lot to teach them.
“This is the first time we’ve had a store on Kauai,” Ikebe said. “There is a lot to learn, and the employees have a lot to share. We’ve heard about the good reputation of the Ishihara family.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.