Field Guide: Waialua Sugar Mill
Ian Anderson, owner of 38 Print, has been creating decals and signs locally since the early 1990s and has been in the mill for eight years. “When I moved in, I was actually asked by Dole to print a sign advertising the commercial space for rent,” says Anderson, adding that he still has the sign in his store.
He’s also made decals for Frank Fasi’s and Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s campaigns, North Shore businesses such as Cholo’s and Haleiwa Joe’s, as well as the popular “Keep the North Shore Country,” bumper stickers. Anderson and his staff also print surfboard laminates for surfboard shapers and glassers. 637-2596.
Photo: David Croxford
The small Saturday farmers’ market is a great excuse for a weekend venture in the Waialua Sugar Mill. About 16 tables along the mill’s front parking lot gate cram in fresh local produce, flowers and lunch items. From 8:30 a.m. until noon, the market offers apple bananas, papayas, assorted greens, tomatoes, garlic and taro, as well as fresh bird of paradise, heliconias and potted plants. Some of the vendors are part of the Waialua Farmers’ Cooperative, which was founded by former sugar mill employees when the mill closed. Buy Thai food or a roasted huli huli chicken for lunch.
North Shore Soap Factory
(Hawaiian Bath and Body)
What started off as a small operation in their home has turned into an international and wholesale business for Debora and Jerry Driscoll. “They started off selling handmade soaps at craft fairs,” says Shanell Grilho, the store’s retail manager. In 2004 they opened Hawaiian Bath and Body in the Waialua Sugar Mill’s Bagasse Bin, a cone-shaped building that once held bagasse, the fiber that remains after sugar cane is processed. The bagasse was burned and released through a smoke stack at the mill.
The soap factory sells 10,000 bars of soap a month at $5.49 each. “We use kukui, macadamia nut, coconut, soybean, olive and palm oils,” says Grilho. The process takes six weeks, and all the work, from pouring the soap mixtures, cutting them into bars with guitar strings, and packaging them, is done in-house. The shop also carries lotions, oils, lip balms, and body scrubs and washes. 637-8400.
Photo: David Croxford
For more than a decade, Steve Matthews and his brother worked in people’s backyards and abandoned warehouses on the North Shore, shaping and glassing surfboards. Last December, they stumbled upon space in the mill and created their permanent location. In addition to the one-stop-shop design and repair for surfboards, Third Stone is a boutique with locally designed, $15 dresses and $10 beaded necklaces from Bali and Morocco, and also sells surf films. “My brother and I weren’t sure about the boutique part at first, but the girls love it,” laughs Matthews. Third Stone also houses five shapers. Matthews helps glass the boards, some for pro surfers. “When they want new boards, we ask them to bring in their old ones and we sell them used.” New short boards start at $425, used ones as low as $25. 391-9782.
Island X Hawaii
At Island X, owners Reba and William Martin sell a little of everything. Inside what used to be the mill’s storage building and manager’s office is a warehouse of imported Indonesian wall masks, beaded bags, sarongs, furniture and large garden pots. “My wife and I and our son travel to Indonesia once a year and hand pick everything,” says Martin. In addition to their overseas goods, the Martins also hand roast, independently package and sell Waialua Coffee. They also offer Waialua Estate Hawai‘i Chocolate. “I’ve really learned a lot about coffee,” says Martin. So much, in fact, that he started Taste of Waialua, offering food and goods from the mill’s businesses, including a coffee tasting. Treat yourself to a coffee shave ice while you’re there. 637-2624. [For more on chocolate, see “Waialua Chocolate” in our March 2008 issue.]