2010 Smallbiz Success Awards

2010 Smallbiz Success Awards

(page 6 of 8)

Photo:Steve Perotti. Kiyoko Komoda is still president of the
Maui store that her family has owned since 1916.

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Komoda Store & Bakery

The Heart of Old Makawao, Then and Now

Blink and you could miss the drab beige building in upcountry Maui’s old Makawao town. But in online reviews and almost a century of happy customers, Komoda Store & Bakery gets raves for its doughnuts on a stick, cream puffs and great family service.

“Go here!!!” says Kimi C. from Los Angeles in one of many Internet rhapsodies. “It doesn’t look like much, but aren’t those places the best?”

The Komoda store was established in 1916 by Takezo and Shigeri Komoda soon after the birth of their eldest son, Takeo, and has survived the Depression, recessions, wars and almost a century of changing lifestyles. Four generations later, it is a landmark Hawaii mom-and-pop store still run by the Komoda family – now with son-in-law Calvin Shibuya as manager and in charge of operations.

From the beginning, the Komodas saw serving their community as a primary responsibility. It meant selling sandwiches and saimin in the early days, then adding dry goods, groceries and, finally, bakery items. During the Depression, Takeo would fill the family truck with dry goods to sell in outlying areas of Maui. During World War II, the family sold bread, guava jelly and hamburgers to soldiers. After the war, the family expanded the bakery when son Ikuo finished his Army service and returned from baking school in Minnesota.

The expanded bakery menu gave the store the niche it still maintains. Even with supermarkets and big-box stores opening in competition, Komoda Store & Bakery has held its place with an extraordinary selection of baked goods – including items that head the list of omiyage for visitors from other islands.

The establishment has 13 employees, seven of whom are family members. Takeo died in 2008, but his widow, Kiyoko, stays involved with the store and his younger brothers, Ikuo and Dan, both in their late 70s, still serve as master bakers.

Shibuya, store manager since the 1990s, is also deeply committed to the community – as an officer and board member of the Makawao Main Street Association and a former member of the Maui County Upcountry Advisory Committee.

“The Komoda family, and the bakery, have won the hearts of many by surviving tough economic times, providing long-term employment and continued dedication to the community,” says Lolita Feliciano, of Bank of Hawaii, who nominated the store for this award.

-By Beverly Creamer

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