Maui Varieties Ltd. Celebrating 60 Year Anniversary
By Sonia Isotov
Maui Varieties Limited (MVL), parent company to the popular Ace Hardware Hawaii, Inc. and Ben Franklin Crafts stores, is celebrating its 60 year anniversary this year.
The family-owned and operated business, run by siblings Wayne Kamitaki, Guy Kamitaki, Lynn Ushijima and cousin, Paul Mizoguchi, is marking its 60 year anniversary with celebrations throughout 2011 for the company’s staff, management and owners to express their appreciation for over six decades of community support.
To celebrate, Ace Hardware and Ben Franklin will be hosting special events and promotions, including enter-to-win drawings, celebrity craft-off competitions and birthday cakes.
The first event will be held in September at the Ben Franklin store in Mapunapuna, and in October at the Ben Franklin store at the Queen Ka`ahumanu Mall in Kahului, Maui.In November and December, events will be held at two Ace Hardware stores, one in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii and the other in Lihue, Kauai. Specific dates and times will soon be announced.
“We are now going through the third generation of our family in our business,” says MVL chief executive officer and co-owner Wayne Kamitaki, in a written statement. “It is very tough for locally owned companies and businesses to reach this point, so I am happy and proud we were able to reach this milestone, and I am also grateful to the community, customers and our employees.”
In 1951, Tadami Kamitaki and his sister Matsuko Mizoguchi acquired the franchise rights from the Ben Franklin stores and stores were opened on Maui, Hawaii, Oahu and Kauai. The company’s first Ace Hardware store was opened in 1984. Since then the company has grown to eleven mainland stores in Nevada, Washington and Oregon and twenty stores in Hawaii; nine on the Big Island, four on Oahu, four on Maui and three on Kauai.
The MVL family had its humble beginnings in Kahului, Maui and its roots trace back to a small local dry goods store started by Grandmother Shikano Kamitaki. It was called the K. Kamitaki Store. The modest store attracted customers with customized “Aloha Shirts” and other merchandise. Running the K. Kamitaki Store (eventually to become the Kahului Dry Goods store) were siblings Tadami Kamitaki and Matsuko Mizoguchi. In 1951, the two opened the first Ben Franklin variety store.