Store With a Mission


From left to right: Mariah Kaliepi, Addie Delos Reyes, Rosie Torres-Batara, Nora Espaniola and Esther Torres-Umi (not pictured) are the main staff of the Store House located in Kaunakakai, which reopened in September. Photo by Jessica Ahles

The Store House reopened its doors at a new Kaunakakai location last month. Now next to Sundown Deli, the business provides another option for eating and groceries and represents a bright future of good food, friendly faces, and community stewardship.

Kitchen specials include roast pork, chicken enchiladas, and pork chops with mushroom gravy as well as a variety of tropical fruit bowls, salads, sandwiches, coffees, and homemade flavored lemonades and mamaki teas.

“Our lemonade has been flying off the shelves,” said co-owner Nora Espaniola. “We’re not able to squeeze lemons fast enough.”

Espaniola manages the business with three of her sisters—Addie Delos Reyes, Rosie Torres-Batara, and Esther Torres-Umi—each providing a helping hand in the kitchen and contributing to the menu.

The Store House had originally opened in 2009 but after a lease disagreement, it closed in 2010 until a portion of the original management settled in at the business’ current address.

“It’s interesting [working with the family],” Espaniola said. “We have our challenges but…it’s been fun and a new experience for us to be in a kitchen and to figure out how we fit together.”

Rustic shutters, doors and fences recycled into shelves and counter space divide the kitchen from the front marketplace and seating area. All four sisters work in a small, oblong space crammed in the back, which operates like a dance number—a constant and swift movement between family members, passing utensils, containers and appliances.

“You should have been here the first couple weeks we opened,” laughed Torres-Batara. “We were always bumping into each other, elbowing and bickering.”

Though food and groceries are their business, Espaniola said their focus is not on revenue, but on how to best serve their community.

“We’d like to look at it as a marketplace ministry so that we can stop what we’re doing and be able to talk,” she said. “When people come in and they’re in need of just someone to talk to, we want to help someone in need.”

Espaniola said that in addition to offering an ear, prayers, and support, they have donated food to families in need and give 10 percent of their revenue to Molokai’s Ohana Ministries Inc., an organization that provides support for local families. Espaniola is the executive director of the organization.

“Some people come in and they’re feeling down, so we’d like to offer that kind of service to people who need that encouragement,” said Espaniola. “That’s our mission—to be an encouragement for our community.”

The Store House is open Mondays through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 553-5222



One Response to “Store With a Mission”

  1. hawaiiangirl says:

    Much success in your new location & venture.

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