Taste of Kalihi community market provides supportive space for small businesses

Taste of Kalihi nurtures Kapalama Kai's small business community
Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 8:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kapalama Kai is home to a diverse range of restaurants and small businesses.

More than 30 vendors took part in the Taste of Kalihi event at Dillingham Plaza on Saturday, bringing together the vibrant community.

Market owner Meghan Ofagalilo and Hilarie Alomar, director of planning and development at Kamehameha Schools, joined HNN’s Sunrise Weekends to talk about the event and vendors like BuGi Grindz, which offered dishes like pastele stew and smoked meat.

BuGi Grindz owner Gigi Ebinger said she grew up in Kalihi and attended Farrington High School, adding that celebrating Kalihi’s diversity with old and new friends was very important to her.

”I think it’s super important especially for all of us to stick together and support locally. A lot of things come from small businesses. It’s so important to know the culture and their story because I feel like there’s so much more meaning,” Ebinger said.

Other vendors included Magnolia Ice Cream & Treats, Live with Aloe-ha, and Manang Mochi.

Ofagalilo said she noticed there wasn’t a marketplace in Kalihi, so as a small business owner, she took it upon herself to create a safe gathering for entrepreneurs and families.

Kapalama Kai is comprised of 104 acres of commercial land owned by Kamehameha Schools and founded on the importance of aina and connection within the Native Hawaiian community.

Alomar explained Kamehameha Schools’ vision of nurturing local businesses in the Kapalama-Kalihi area.

”We’re really a partner and a steward who wants to work with our community, work with our tenants and work to evolve the community along with growing business for our tenants,” Alomar said.

For updates on events in Kalihi, visit www.kapalamakai.com.