Extending the Ohana

New wholesale food store to open soon.

By Megan Stephenson

Like so many in during this economic downturn, Tracy Davis faced an unexpected challenge last year. She was laid off from the Molokai Middle School during major budget cutbacks. With four children at home, and one off to college soon, Davis decided to try something new – open a wholesale store.

“I’m a parent of four kids, so I like to shop in bulk,” she said. Many other Molokai shoppers have told her the same thing.

So to fill the gap of bulk shopping options on the island, Davis will bring the community Ohana Wholesale, opening next month. The new store is located on Ala Malama Avenue, between Kalele Bookstore and Molokai Artists and Crafters Guild.

Davis went back to school after she was laid off, taking business classes through the Maui Economic Opportunity, a non-profit ‘Community Action Agency’ organization. Davis said the Mango Mart closed while she was taking classes, and one of her teachers encouraged her to look into a similar business.

Her original idea was to open a store that catered to pregnant women and new mothers. She recently had a baby, and was frustrated not having a place to shop. But instead, she looked into space available at the Ala Malama Center and decided to open a wholesale store.

“I named it Ohana Wholesale because everyone on Molokai is my family.”

Now that she has begun to stock her new store, Davis said she understands why things are so expensive on Molokai with rising shipping costs and increased airlines rates. Since going off island isn’t always feasible, she saw a service that needed to be filled.

“I just want to pay my bills and make it affordable for Molokai,” she said.

The store will feature a corner dedicated to new and expectant mothers, as well as health foods and biodegradable paper goods. Davis said it is scheduled to be open in early November.

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