ANAHOLA — On occasion, Leeander Boiser’s shop has a surplus of donations and items.
“We’ve been working with the two food banks, the Alzheimer’s association. We’ll bring blankets, extra clothes,” said the owner of Hana Hou Thrift Shop. “We have stuff to sell, but when people need, we’ll give when we have an abundance.”
In business for about two years, Boiser is part of the expanding Anahola Marketplace, which hopes to open shops for several local retailers in the coming years, said Robin Danner, executive director of the Homestead Community Development Corporation.
“Going into business is the best anti-drug program. The best anti-poverty program is economic development,” she told The Garden Island. “It’s to help ourselves to create jobs in the community.”
Originally an old dump, a portion of the marketplace used to be an eyesore with drug houses, Danner said.
It’s turned into a marketplace close to home for Anahola residents.
“If we can create jobs in our community … it’s family strengthening,” she said. “When mom and dad work down the street, the kids think differently. Mom and dad aren’t in Lihue, two hours away, 10 hours a day. They’re right down the street, and you never know when they can pop right in.”
In 2005, HCDC received a grant and purchased the land from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and soon after expanded to 10 acres adjacent to the marketplace.
“Our very first project was (Anahola Cafe) in 2005,” she said. “We wanted a certified kitchen because we had folks from our community that we cared about that were selling illegally on the side of the road, so they would have to duck and dodge the DOH.”
The marketplace officially opened its doors in 2007.
One of its first retailers was Keohokui Kauihana, owner of Hale O Kanaka Maoli Huli Huli Chicken.
“We started before the marketplace, outside the fence, protesting U.S. occupation, 10 years prior to that,” he said.
He enjoys the aloha his customers receive from eating his chicken.
“You can actually taste it and it’s good energy,” he said. “The wood, I get it from my customers and they donate it. That’s the aloha. It starts in the fire and goes into the chicken. I just make sure the chicken gets cooked.”
Kauihana said the vendors help each other whenever they can.
“The thrift shop is nice, the cafe is nice and I hear we’re getting other vendors in soon,” he said.
Boiser has been at the location for two years.
“I’m a people person. I’ve done craft fairs, estate sales with a friend, garage sales for others. I’m very familiar with providing a service for people,” she said.
One of the reasons she opened her store was to reduce waste and recycle items.
“We’ve had lots of garage sales on our own. You can find some unique things, and some things there, unique things behind them,” she said. “What sets us apart from other thrift shops, we try to have everything in good condition and clean.”
Bill Gaus of Kilauea was cruising the marketplace on Thursday.
“I come here a lot and I go get my chicken,” he said. “There’s always new stuff in here — retro stuff you can’t find anywhere else.”
Nalani Kaneaku and Kaina Lovell of Garden Island Sandwich Company have used the kitchen space for over a year, and are using it to grow their operation.
Kaneaku and Lovell provide hundreds of organic sandwiches, salads and wraps to retailers in Lihue, Hanalei and Koloa.
“We like supporting the local people here in Anahola and here on Kauai and try to use that in our ingredients,” Lovell said. “Sometimes the market dictates what is popular and what is not popular. We’ve done a good job adjusting.”
Prior to the marketplace, Kaneaku has been producing food products for over 10 years.
“My brother and I have a passion for nutrition, so to do something like this and do organic products, it’s not difficult,” she said. “Be consistent, use quality ingredients and source local items to use in our finished products.”
Danner said some of the new shops that plan to open later include a skate and tattoo shop.
“Before April, I will have retail space ready to go for these folks if they decide to jump and take on the business plan,” she said. “We bought and placed a 40-foot sea container at the marketplace, we will start renovating, to create retail space.”