Magic icee creator banks on aloha to survive bad economy

Uncle Clay
Uncle Clay

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

AINA HAINA (KHNL) - Tough economic times have mom and pop shops struggling to survive. But one East Oahu store known for making it's 'magic icee's' is trying to stay alive, not by cutting back, but by spending more.

Uncle Clay is known for his magic icee.

"I also like the magic stickers that he gives."

"What makes it magical?"

"I really don't know, I just stick it on me and I think it's magical," said 8-year-old Allyson Pang, a regular customer.

And the magic of aloha is what Uncle Clay is banking on to keep his crack seed candy store afloat in the midst of troubled times.

"Economy's tough, very tough, as the big box stores keep coming in. I've never been able to afford an employee," said Uncle Clay.

"He has definitely sacrificed financially to run this shop," said Uncle Clay's nephew, Bronson Chang.

To survive, Uncle Clay, with the help of Chang, is transforming the Aina Haina shop, Doe Fang. His plan? Loosen clogged-up lines.

"Move our machines to the back of the store and put it in the corner so the line would naturally form and giving our ohana a lot of elbow room," said Uncle Clay.

He'll also set up a dream stage.

"Yes, we're going to have a dream stage for my aspiring up and coming rising stars that need a support of encouraging ohana that we're going to put in this corner," he said.

Plus, he'll make room for a seating area all to boost business.

"Impact more people and get that pure aloha out there to reach even more, more hearts," said Chang.

It's a concept that has kept this store alive the past twelve years. and while money is a necessary means, what customers leave with is priceless.

Renovations are possible thanks to volunteers and donations from the community.

The store's transformation should be done by August 20th.