Ishihara Market earns retailer honor

Several Kauai businesses were honored at the recent Retail Merchants of Hawaii’s annual Hookela Awards presented at its Striving for Excellence conference.

The program recognizes retailers throughout Hawaii in 13 categories.

This year, three Kauai companies were recognized as finalists after being nominated by First Hawaiian Bank.

In the category, Retailer Business of the Year – Kauai, Ishihara Market, Ltd. (Waimea), Lappert’s Hawaii Ice Cream and Coffee (Hanapepe) and Work it Out (Kapaa) were nominees.

Ishihara Market,  founded more than 100 years ago, was Kauai’s winner.

For many islanders and visitors, the store is renowned for its line of bentos, poke, homemade ready-to-eat and or cook foods, as well as a selection of farm-to-table items, including island beef and pork.  

“Today, it is run by a third generation of ‘sansei’ who, like their parents and grandparents before them, continue a tradition of listening and adjusting to their customers’ needs and providing products and price points with a wide selection of items which makes their business model sustainable as it has over the past 100 years plus,” said a press release.

Located in Hanapepe, Lappert’s Hawaii Ice Cream and Coffee began as an ice cream business with locations throughout Hawaii, in addition to business accounts throughout the islands.

This local ice creamery continues to provide a variety of ice cream products.

“Both of these food and retail establishments continue a food trend which uses local products to create food, experiences and memories that people conveniently can enjoy wherever they go,” the release said.

Work it Out in downtown Kapaa is owned by Jeni Kaohelauali.

“Like her father Jon, whose business is Sole Mates at Coconut Marketplace in Wailua, Jeni’s business continues its mix of products, excellent and personalized customer service and innovative marketing to keep up with Kauai’s health/wellness and fitness lifestyles,” the release said.

“All three business have several common traits which make them this year’s finalists for Retailer of the Year: Consistently high quality products coupled with great and friendly customer service — Kauai style which is also about Aloha and giving back to Kauai’s community,” according to the press release.

Shari Sakamoto, is the new Retail Merchants of Hawaii president.

She is from Hanapepe and leads the organization with members throughout the islands. 

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