As one of Maui’s last surviving mom-and-pop stores, Pukalani Superette contributes to the island’s economic sustainability by providing a local alternative to supermarkets and chain stores, buying from island suppliers and providing jobs to Upcountry residents. “Sumiko Nakashima ran the Superette from 1965 to 1990 and always passed the discounts offered from the vendors down to the customer,” says co-owner Myles Nakashima. “We still do this, which is why our prices are very competitive.”Originally called Tanizaki Store, the establishment has its roots in Maui’s plantation past, opening in 1924.
“You can tell our store was built in a time of small towns and plantation camps,” says Nakashima, who owns the business with his brother, Aric. “Our store has approximately 3,300 square feet of sales area and about 1,200 feet of kitchen prep area. The inside is homey with raw wood interior paneling, friendly cashiers and chances are you will run into somebody you know with our prepared foods in hand.” The Superette is known for the potato macaroni salad created by the owners’ mother, Sumiko Tanizaki Nakashima and an aunt. The business buys many of its goods from local vendors, such as island fresh fish, backyard limes 15 pounds of limes at a time or Lahaina pickled mangoes.
Myles Nakashima said the business is also looking to remain competitive in the future by continuing its mission to provide customers with a clean, safe shopping environment, offering the best products available at a reasonable price. “My vision is to have a healthier line of prepared foods, maybe a salad bar and a hot foods bar with soups,” he says. “I believe the future of Pukalani Superette hinges on remaining competitive. Since the economic downturn, most businesses are only now starting to emerge with decent profits. Events that occur thousands of miles away directly affect all of us,” Nakashima adds.