The Tasaka family, makers of the unique guri guri treat for four generations, will be honored by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii as one of five local businesses that have stood the test of time and become inspiring stories of success.
"There is a well-known Japanese proverb - nana korobi, ya oki - which translates to 'fall seven times, stand up eight' which really is the essence of what this night of celebration is all about," said Lenny Yajima Andrew, JCCH president. "These Japanese-American businesses have found a recipe for success in Hawaii, persevering through tough times, giving back to their communities, and making a difference in the local business arena. It's truly a privilege to recognize these outstanding organizations."
Tasaka Guri Guri, now at Maui Mall, was started nearly a century ago by Jokichi Tasaka on Puunene Avenue, serving a dairy-based sherbet treat. The recipe remains a family secret. While competitors in the frozen treat trade go for variety, advertising 31 or even 48 flavors, guri guri has always come in just two - strawberry and pineapple. Cindy Tasaka-Ing, who with her sister, Gail Saito, represents the fourth generation, says there has never been any plan to expand the lineup.
Tasaka Guri Guri staffers (from left) Cindy Tasaka-Ing, Henry Tasaka, Gail Saito and Kelly Kohatsu dish up the sweet treat Thursday morning at Maui Mall.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The big change came some years ago when sweet beans were dropped as an option.
Her father, Henry Tasaka, oversees a family staff that also includes Kelly Kohatsu, Tony Ishikawa and Setsuo Tasaka.
The award will be presented at the JCCH annual Celebration of Leadership and Achievement Dinner on Oct. 3 at the Manoa Grand Ballroom. Unluckily, the Maui Tasakas had already planned to take the fifth generation to Disneyland and will not be able to attend, but two relatives who live on Oahu will stand in.
Other old-time firms being honored are Deja-Vu Surf Apparel (originally M. Miura Store selling mochi) on Kauai, Diamond Bakery and Marians Catering/Dots Restaurant (originally a corner grocery) on Oahu and KTA Superstores on Hawaii Island.
Tickets are $175 ($150 for JCCH members). For more information, visit JCCH.com/ clad-2009.asp.
THIRST QUENCHER. Ian Walker opened his fourth Mountain Slope Water business, in Kaunakakai, on Tuesday. He says: "I have been interested in opening a store on Molokai for a few years now. Everything is more expensive there, and the residents deserve a break. I plan to offer the same prices on Molokai as at my other stores." Walker has plans to open additional stores on all the islands, but "finding the right person to manage it is the hardest part. It's not rocket science, but there is much to learn in this business."
WEST SIDE CONDOS. The Breakers, 60 units of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom condos in housing-short West Maui, is open across from Honokowai Beach Park. Steve Baker, broker-in-charge at Prudential Locations Maui, says prices begin at $328,000 for a one-bedroom, one-bath residence. Prudential Locations Maui LLC is exclusive project broker for The Breakers. The sales center and models are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 3702 Lower Honoapiilani Road.
TOURISM ENRICHMENT. The Hawaii Tourism Authority, working through Maui County, is soliciting proposals for its Tourism Product Enrichment programs for 2010. The goal is to diversify and enrich tourism products by developing and enhancing community-based events, experiences and projects related to culture, education, agriculture, health and wellness, nature and technology. Awards go up to $50,000. Application packets are available at the Office of Economic Development, One Main Plaza, Suite 305; or online at www.maui county.gov/oed. For more information, call HTA specialist Cheryl Sterling at 270-7997.
UKULELE FEVER. Bounty Music marks 30 years in business this year, and owner (with wife Avi) Paul Weinstein says ukuleles make up a remarkable 25 percent of his business, "more than guitars." Also remarkably, a large proportion of the ukes are made in the islands. Island ukulele manufacturing is thriving, with nine brands represented at Bounty: Kamaka, Maui Music, Ko'olau, KoAloha, G String, Fujii, Island Ukulele, Kanilea and Valley Made.
RENT A HYBRID. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has designated four rental locations in Hawaii, including its 40 Hana Highway office, as "hybrid branches," which have a higher concentration of hybrids available. Enterprise claims the world's largest fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles, adding nearly 5,000 hybrids nationwide this year.
MAYOR'S AWARDS. Former KGMB9 news anchor Jade Moon will be the keynote speaker at the 2009 Mayor's Small Business Awards dinner Oct. 23 at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. Emcees for the evening will be Kim Gennaula and Guy Hagi. Nominations are being accepted until 4:30 p.m. Sept. 18. Nomination forms are available by calling or visiting the County Business Resource Center at Maui Mall, at Central Pacific Bank locations or at www.mauicounty. gov/mcbrc.
* "Tides of Commerce" appears on the Money Matters page every other Monday. If you have an item for the column, please call reporter Harry Eagar of The Maui News at 242-6392 or fax the item to his attention at 242-9087. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.