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Mom & Pop Stores

Like movie sets from a bygone era, small mom-and-pop stores still dot the local landscape, from quiet country roads to busy city streets on every Hawaiian island. The “newer” ones—simple cinder block structures—are themselves mid-century relics. The original plantation-era stores are truly vintage wooden buildings, well worn with age. …People fondly remember patronizing these stores as children entering a dream world filled with cold sodas, ice cakes, candies, pastries and ice cream. Popular snacks included: Tomoe Ame, milk candy, button candy, rock candy, dried abalone, Bazooka bubble gum, dried ika (squid), sour lemon and ginger chunks. Some stores specialized in shave ice or various types of “crack seed” stored in large glass jars. One’s purchase was placed into a small brown paper bag that old-timers would always lick to enjoy the last bit of salty goodness off of the insides of the bags. Some stores even had wooden porches and benches out front where customers could sit and enjoy a cold soda, ice cream or shave ice, and talk story.

—Arnold Hiura, From Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and Now

Photo: Paauilo Store, Highway 19, Hilo by Dawn Sakamoto Paiva Photo: Paauilo Store, Highway 19, Hilo by Dawn Sakamoto Paiva