It started out 25 years ago in Paia as a tiny hole in the wall that sold only fresh-squeezed juices. Now, Mana Foods is the most powerful health food store on island with over 100 employees.
These days, Mana Foods features more than vegetarian options. There is a department packed with natural gourmet meat and seafood, a deli headed by Thai Chef Suphan Ann Gale, a bakery, a vitamin room, the famous wall of chocolate, and household and pet items.
"We always try hard to have our food be affordable. We are just doing the customer appreciation week to thank the community," says partner Sunette Fenn, who runs the store with founder Ed Thielk and his sister, Theresa Thielk, along with partner Chris Ozee.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
With the help of his three partners, founder Ed Thielk employs over 100 people in the busy store on Baldwin Avenue in Paia.
"Our event this week includes customer giveaways, prizes, nutritional education, product sampling and Dr. Hauschka facials and more."
From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Mana Foods will host a barbecue fundraiser with 100 percent of the profits going to the Paia Youth & Cultural Center. Just look for the grills going out by the cart cage to the side of the store.
"We're going to have some really good food," says Fenn. "We'll have healthy plate-lunch options, including locally caught fish; grass-fed, antibiotic-and-hormone-free steak and vegetarian selections."
Over 300 local vendors, "just about everyone on island," says Ed, sell their products to Mana Foods. Saturday, you may come shop at the store and get an up-close look at some of them.
"Saturday features Meet the Farmer with Anuhea Farms and their asparagus, and Green Leaf and their yacon," says produce manager Ryan Earehart. "Yacon is a Peruvian root like jicama. Saturday we'll also have a cheese demonstration on the bamboo bar.
Since Saturday is Halloween, and Paia is celebrating in a big way, Mana Foods will provide all-natural treats for the keiki from 5 to 7 p.m. outdoors along with a magic show and bagpipers.
In addition, from now through Saturday, if you buy $250 worth of products, you'll get "a free bag of schwag," or a free bag of store items (while supplies last).
This year, Mana Foods was nominated for the Mayor's Small Business Award. It was also named "Best Health Food Store" on the island in The Maui News.
For further details, call Mana Foods at 579-8078.