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About

Pukalani Superette is a friendly mix of just about everything a person needs from a snack to a smile.  Maybe that’s why the popular little store on the corner of Haleakala Highway and Makawao Avenue bustles with so much energy.

One of the last of Maui’s true mom-and-pop establishments, the Superette has been serving Upcountry Maui for over 60 years and is still going strong under ownership of Aric and Myles Nakashima.  Pukalani Superette has been a family operation from the start.  The Nakashima sons’ grandparents, Takeo and Kome Tanizaki, were issei that came from Japan to Hawaii to work on the plantations and first opened a small store in Wailuku.  When that business was lost to a fire in 1927, they built Tanizaki Store at a Pukalani location adjacent to the current building.

The old general store was similar to many of that era with a gravity-fed gasoline pump in front and the simple items people needed inside.

 

A new and larger store and now a Pukalani landmark was completed in 1955.  “Yoshimura built the store,” said Moriaki Nakashima, Aric and Myles’ father. “It cost $17,500.”

The new store had an auspicious beginning.  On opening day, Dec. 13, 1955, when the name was officially changed from Tanizaki Store to Pukalani Superette, Sumiko Tanizaki Nakashima gave birth to her youngest son, Myles.

Moriaki Nakashima, who served in WWII with the Army Corps of Engineers, also worked for Kahului Railroad, and he worked his last 20 years with the company as a tugboat engineer.  Sumiko worked at the store seven days a week until she retired in 1990.

“Your-Easy-Does-It” Place for over 60 years!

Pukalani Superette, or Puk Sup (Pook Soop) as regulars have nicknamed the store, has tailored its inventory today to its changing clientele.  From its rural beginnings when sleepy Pukalani consisted of just a few homes and Kula was mostly a farm community, the market has adjusted to Upcountry’s eclectic mix of customers.  “Everybody needs coffee,” Aric said, recalling the days when a can of Folger’s would be fine. “But now you need a coffee grinder and a variety of coffee beans.

Pukalani Superette’s prepared hot and cold foods sections offer ready-to-eat items for the busy customer.  Chili Chicken, Chow Fun, Lau Lau (Chicken, Beef, and Pork) and Tako Poke are available every day of the week.  These popular prepared foods Puk Sup is known for today began back in 1927 with sushi.  “My grandmother made sushi,” Aric said. “Two kinds, cone sushi and rolled sushi.” His mother, Sumiko Tanizaki Nakashima, and his aunt continued that legacy for many years thereafter.   Pukalani Superette’s kitchen has also been enlarged and the Nakashima brothers have ventured into a successful catering business.  Delivery service for catered food items to most parts of Maui is also available as a convenience for Pukalani Superette customers. 

One can also find bundled firewood, chicken feed, diapers, lentils, greeting cards, fresh flowers, cough drops, extra virgin cold press olive oil, ice, beer, coconut water, Bob’s Red Mill products, and baked goods and the list goes on, not to mention every staple a home might need from light bulbs to aspirin to ground beef.  Recently, Pukalani Superettes’ health foods and organic selections have been expanded as more and more Upcountry customers request these items.

Most of the fresh produce comes from local farmers and is packaged for individuals, couples and small families.  It’s a place where you don’t have to buy more than you need. And unlike some of the big stores, the shelves are almost always well stocked.

We’re that size where it’s small enough where we can see the whole store, sort of like your house,” Aric explained.

 

A Part of the Community

Pukalani Superette supports many local organizations and businesses.  For example, when the employees at Ah Fooks lost their jobs when the store burned down several years ago, they received gift certificates to buy groceries from Pukalani Superette.   Pukalani Superette also values its customers whose generous donations have helped organizations such as – Maui Memorial Cancer Foundation, local school fundraisers, as well as those of various non-profit organizations.  In addition, Puk Sup offers Senior discounts every day.

The store has endured because it has kept up with the times yet held on to its friendly, neighborhood feel.  Takeo and Kome Tanizaki must be smiling to know their dream is alive and thriving in today’s big box, bigger-is-better times.