Thought Becomes a Reality
Ululani was born and raised in Kalihi on the island of O`ahu. She, along with her husband David both grew up eating O`ahu’s finest shave ice. Growing up, Ululani’s favorite shave ice flavors were strawberry, banana, and vanilla (rainbow); David’s were strawberry with vanilla ice cream. As children, Ululani’s mom & stepdad Larry, and David’s parents would occasionally take them to have shave ice after school, after a day at the beach, after playing sports or just to cool off from the Hawaiian sun.
This is where their appreciation for ONO (delicious) Hawaiian shave ice began.
Upon moving to the Pacific Northwest, their craving for real Hawaiian shave ice would often prompt Ululani to say, “One day, I am going to open a shave ice shop.” This thought would often arise during the hot summer days and would be emphasized when they could only find “snow cones” or chunky “Hawaiian shave ice.” Even though the “snow cones” were not like the shave ice she loved in Hawai`i, she always saw the long lines of people waiting patiently for those snow cones. Ululani’s thoughts would always be, “If people could just taste the O`ahu quality shave ice that we grew up with, they would realize that there is no comparison between Hawaiian shave ice and snow cones.”
This was the onset of Ululani’s thoughts becoming a reality.
One summer day in 2003, Ululani followed her business instinct, took some of her retirement money and purchased her first shave ice machine and supplies. She started her business making Hawaiian shave ice at community events and private parties. As the years and summers went by, Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice’s reputation and exposure grew throughout the Portland, OR/ Vancouver, WA area. She found herself being an ongoing vendor at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market, all the cultural events at Uwajimaya’s Beaverton location, university lu’aus, numerous festivals & sporting events, and farmer’s markets in the area. Ululani’s became known for their extremely fine shave, great flavors, and warm & friendly “ALOHA” spirit.
As the success of her business grew, so did the number of shave ice machines to accommodate the never-ending lines for her Hawaiian shave ice.
After a trip back home to O`ahu in late 2008, Ululani’s desire to be closer to her mom and family was stronger than ever. After deep deliberation, she & David decided to move back to Hawai`i. With the economy in a slump, Ululani, David and Brad, a longtime friend and now partner opted to take a chance and open their first shop in Lahaina, Maui. It is here that the experience in making fine, quality shave ice, experimenting and creating great tasty flavors, and years of working in the service industry melded with the location in Lahaina’s busy 800 block restaurant row to create the success encountered so far.
History of Shave Ice in Hawai`i
Shave ice was brought to Hawai`i by the thousands of Japanese who migrated here to work in the sugar cane plantations and pineapple fields. The workers would take a block of ice and shave it as if planing a block of wood (or using a machete), then pour different flavored juices or syrups on them. They enjoyed it as a refreshing break in the hot, tropical climate. In those days shave ice was sold only on Sundays, the only day off the plantation workers received.
When the Japanese immigrants moved off the plantations, they opened family run grocery stores (with shave ice) – and shave ice went commercial and became very popular. The popularity has grown and continues to grow. O`ahu’s best shops have popularized shave ice around the world with the most notable being Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa. Other shops to note on O`ahu are Aoki’s (also in Haleiwa), Waiola’s in McCully and now also on Kapahulu Ave, Shimazu’s in Kalihi, Baldwin’s and Ice Garden in Aiea, and Island Snow in Kailua. In 2008, then President-elect Barrack Obama visited Island Snow while on O`ahu. This brought Hawaiian shave ice notable worldwide attention.
All shave ice shops mentioned above on O`ahu are highly recommended by Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice.