Tucked into one of the remaining small shopping centers close to our Poipu rentals and Kauai Resorts, is the historical Kukui`ula Market, owned and operated by the Kuribayashi family for over 50 years.
Specialties of this Kauai Grocery Store
Visit their new Tree Juice Bar, a kiosk located in the store serving local fruit smoothies using classic “Champion” juicers. This store also offers organic products, local foods and desserts, home-made lunches and salad bar, local grass fed beef, fish and shrimp grown and caught locally, and a large variety of vegan and gluten-free foods. Paul cuts all the beef and the lunches are made before dawn by Terry on a gas stove in the back.
Kukui`ula Market History
Back in 1960 sugar cane truck driver, Hajime Kuribayashi, was inspired by his boss to go into retail. The original Kauai grocery store was located across from Kukui`ula Harbor on Lawai Road. Just a small store back then with the living quarters in the back, they carried a variety of groceries and made daily food deliveries to the Filipino sugar cane camps.
The Kuribayashi’s moved everything to their current location on Poipu Road in 1970 and have been named by one Kauai vacation rental guest, “Small on the outside, BIG on the inside!” Today the Kuribayashi family owns the entire shopping center near Poipu Beach which includes Seasport Divers, Outfitters Kauai and The Crack (Mexican food).
Paul and Terry Kuribayashi run the store now and Terry has been there 15 years since marrying Paul. They work every day from 6 am until after closing. Both are inspired to keeping the market local and thriving in honor of Mr. Kuribayashi who was such a dedicated and hard worker. Terry has seen many changes since she started and continues to look for ways to keep Kukui`ula Market different, unique and competitive.
Terry’s mother-in-law, 90 year old Jane, still works in the store and moves around happily in her walker. She peels, weighs and tapes up all the onions for sale.
Terry and Paul are dedicated store-keepers and they love their customers. Although they cannot possibly compete with big corporate grocery stores, they hope to always fill a special niche with their organics and support of local vendors. That helps to keep the local flare burning for Kauai and visitors.
Details: Kukui`ula Market is at 2827 Poipu Road just north of the roundabout. Open 7 days a week at 8am, the market closes at 8:30pm Monday through Friday and 6:30pm on weekends. Telephone: 808-742-1601. While not in the Kukui`ula community, it is conveniently located nearby.
If you have a favorite local Kauai grocery store, or have been to Kukui`ula Market, we invite you to leave a comment with your recommendations.