Blessing ceremony held for Kauai Open Aire Markets

KOLOA — When Russell “Rusty” Faraldi left Kauai for the first time in six years and returned to the Mainland, he didn’t like what he found.

San Francisco, a city he loves, he no longer recognized. Too busy, too crowded, too crazy.

“I was appalled,” he said.

So Faraldi called his wife Michele on Kauai and told her it was time they made a capital investment on the island. No more looking back.

“I’m never leaving,” he said.

That decision put the Faraldis on a path that led to Saturday’s blessing of Kauai Open Aire Markets in Koloa. Kumu Sabra Kauka led the ceremony attended by about 20 people that took place when it stopped raining.

“I congratulate you two for your vision and your passion,” Kauka said.

The market is set on a 5,000-square-foot lot the Faraldis purchased just off Weliweli Road, behind the main stores on Koloa Road. It offers 12 covered booth spaces, complete with table and chairs, that can be leased. A goal is to give locals an affordable place to sell their products and produce in a park-like setting, within distance of plenty of foot traffic.

“Ever since we came here about six years ago full time, Rusty has wanted to do something that would involve a community effort,” Michele Faraldi said. “All of that evolved into this. We believe in the future of Kauai and we believe part of that future is sustainability.”

While the Faraldis invested their own money to buy the property for the market, it’s not about turning a profit.

Rusty Faraldi said they hope Kauai Open Aire Markets creates something that will bring in more people and benefit all businesses and residents. He cited the saying, “a rising tide raises all boats.”

“It’s not about us,” he said. “It was never about us.”

He believes there are many on Kauai who need an economical, efficient way to offer their handmade crafts and homegrown fruit to customers on a consistent basis.

The market provides an opportunity for a person to develop their business and personal brands and at the same time, gets locally grown, fresh food to families, who don’t have to be dependent on products that are shipped in.

The market will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. It offers 1,200 square feet of retail space.

“We believe in Koloa, we believe in our local producers,” Rusty Faraldi said. “They can develop a revenue stream for themselves and we can actually achieve that dream of getting more food into the hands of our families.”

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