Every successful business venture begins with a dream. But when Allan Ikawa and his wife Irma invested all they had to launch a candy store back in 1977 on Hawaii’s Big Island, little could they have predicted where that dream would take them.
Their plan was simple enough: they intended to produce their own handmade macadamia-nut cookies and other chocolate treats using the best local produce they could find on their home island. So Allan set to work from a small warehouse in Hilo’s industrial district, armed with just a chocolate melter, a shrink-wrap machine and a head full of ideas.
Today, their dream has been realized–and then some. Big Island Candies is one of Hawaii’s best-loved premium confectionary brands with a reputation that brings visitors from far and wide to the impressive Hilo Flagship Store. There they marvel as dedicated artisans create those iconic cookies in full view, before heading to the retail aisles to make a purchase.
The store is not the only aspect of the business that’s changed since those humble beginnings–now alongside those cookies, you’ll find award-winning signature shortbreads, dipped in a variety of different chocolate coatings, brownies, decadent chocolates and other local favorites, such as Pineapple Manju and Kona Coffee.
Although gift-giving is practiced all over the world, nowhere is it as deeply ingrained in the culture as it is in Hawaii. And what better way to mark a visit then to bring back a specialty assortment for your friends and family—or yourself?
Of course, even if you don’t make it over to one of the two stores (the other is on Oahu), you can still order online or by phone.
So, whether it’s vacation, staycation, special occasion or simply a celebration, why not include some of the happiness that Allan and Irma have been cooking up since 1977?
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