Walter Lappert, the founder and owner of Hanapepe-based Lappert’s Ice Cream and Coffee shop, died peacefully at his home early on Labor Day morning.
A prominent businessman, Lappert, 82, started the ice cream chain on Kaua‘i in 1983. There are 19 Lappert stores throughout the western United States.
Lappert was one of the most familiar faces in Hawai‘i. His white-bearded profile appeared on a medallion-style logo identifying his ice cream and coffee.
He began his ice cream and coffee endeavors while “retiring” to the island nearly 20 years ago.
Lappert’s first batch of Kaua‘i ice cream was created on December 21, 1983. The small white factory, located in Hanapepe on the main highway to Kaua‘i’s Waimea Canyon, has a retail store upfront and the ice cream is made in the back.
For many people, Lappert became the Hawaiian equivalent of Colonel Sanders. His ice cream and coffee won a devoted following because they seem so quintessentially Hawaiian.
Lappert based many of his flavors on local ingredients. “Kauai Pie,” for instance, is a mixture of Kona coffee ice cream, chunky Macadamia Nuts, coconut, and chocolate fudge. At last count, Lappert made over 100 flavors, with some 30,000 gallons generated monthly.
Lappert was born on March 22, 1921. There will be a public memorial although the date and time has not been set.
He is survived by three sons Michael, Patrick and Brendan as well as daughter Julie Lucas.