Kula Produce Breaks Ground at New Maui Lani Location

October 21, 2015, 4:13 PM HST · Updated October 21, 4:13 PM
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Mark Teruya, chairman and CEO of Armstrong Produce, holds a ho`okupu during the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of Kula Produce’s new facility in Maui Lani. Kahu Marcelo Bustillos officiated the private groundbreaking event on October 9. Photo courtesy of Maui Lani Village Center.

Mark Teruya, chairman and CEO of Armstrong Produce, holds a ho`okupu during the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of Kula Produce’s new facility in Maui Lani. Kahu Marcelo Bustillos officiated the private groundbreaking event on October 9. Photo courtesy of Maui Lani Village Center.

Kula Produce broke ground on a new site at the Maui Lani Village Center that will allow the company to expand its services on Maui.

The 1.85 acre lot, adjacent to Oceanic Time Warner Cable, will house a new state-of-the-art facility that will feature new green building techniques and modernized equipment for proper food storage and handling.

Features will include a photovoltaic energy system, LED lighting, refrigerated loading docks and receiving areas, and pressurized banana ripening rooms.

A new temperature-controlled process room will also allow Kula Produce to expand its services to meet growing market demand for convenience items such as pre-sliced fruits and vegetables.

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“We’re very excited about this opportunity to build a brand-new facility, the way we want it, from the ground up,” said Mark Teruya, Chairman and CEO of Armstrong Produce, parent company of Kula Produce in an announcement.

“Proper temperature control is critical for maintaining the cold chain and protecting the produce. Our new Maui Lani facility will be fully enclosed and modernized so we can continue to deliver strong service and quality products in compliance with current standards for food safety.”

Kula Produce’s current location in Kahului is over 20 years old, Teruya said, and the opportunity to modernize its facilities together with its location in the Maui Lani Village Center site were factors in their decision to move. “It’s a very central location, and the roadway system in place will make it even easier to deliver our products to all our customers island wide,” said Teruya.

Armstrong Produce is a third-generation, family-owned business with operations on Oʻahu, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Teruya’s family roots are in farming, and the company’s origins trace back to the 1940s when Waiʻanae farmers Yoken and Ushi Teruya began buying and selling fruits and vegetables to support their family.

Today, the company supplies the state with fresh produce sourced from the mainland as well as local farmers. About 30% to 40% of Armstrong Produce’s products are locally grown.

“There’s a strong demand for fresh, locally grown produce, so it’s important to understand, support and encourage local agriculture,” Teruya said.

Teruya said one of Armstrong Produce’s strengths is “understanding the logistics and difficulties of shipping between the mainland and the neighbor islands.” Their facilities on three islands – including a new building in Kona scheduled to open at the end of this year – are part of a transportation chain that company representatives say, “gets produce from the farms into the hands of customers who want them.”

Kula Produce’s new Maui Lani Village Center facility is expected to be completed near the end of 2016.

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