Maui Pasta Owners Seek Community’s HelpFebruary 12, 2016, 9:00 AM HST · Updated February 12, 4:03 PM Debra Lordan · 0 Comments
Patricia and Ron Inman’s dream came true with the opening of their Maui Pasta Company in Waikapū in 2012 and its “take-out window” in May of 2015.
The pasta shop and factory offers affordable, authentic Italian food “infused with Maui-grown flavors” for take-out and delivery.
Business was growing steadily and it seemed that the couple was on the road to success, when they suddenly experienced a very serious setback. They are asking the community for help.
“After enjoying a very busy holiday rush in December of last year, my husband and I travelled to Connecticut to visit my family,” said Patricia. “While we were there, my 56-year-old husband—my business partner and best friend—began to get very ill. By the time we returned to Maui six days later, he was experiencing severe headaches and had deteriorated so much that he could barely talk.”
When Ron collapsed at the end of January, he was transported by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he was soon diagnosed with metastatic melanoma that spread to his brain and lungs.
“I had to close that weekend, but we are reopened now with a very amazing and supportive team and staff,” said Patricia. “But unless we get help from the community soon, we will need to close the business permanently.”
Ron was admitted to Islands Hospice in Kahului at the end of January and Patricia is now living there with him, getting up every morning to go to Maui Pasta to keep it operating. Her typical workday spans 12 hours or longer, six days a week; Sundays are spent shopping for the business.
“With the help of Yelp, Instagram and Facebook, we built a strong social media presence, with me in the executive chef position, and Ron, who holds a master’s degree in finance, running the business end,” said Patricia.
“We do have the highest ratings on Yelp and Facebook,” said Patricia. “But being so new, it’s not enough to keep going. Sales have dropped because I can no longer do all of our social media marketing. I can no longer keep up with social media postings that informed our community about what we offer. Since we have been only open less than a year, social media was a vital part of our growth, but I’ve lost that momentum.”
“My goal now, besides surviving, is to find pathways to spread the word about our meals and catering,” said Patricia. “We desperately need more folks to know about us and patronize our business in order to keep going.”
“We have fallen desperately behind in paying the bills last month—bills I’m trying to figure out because Ron did all of that up until a month ago,” Patricia explained.
“I’m doing his job, my job and caring for him, as well as teaching online for UH Maui College in order to maintain health insurance for both of us,” said Patricia. “I have been desperately trying to run the business alone, trying to do all the things Ron used to do as well as my own tasks, while make sure he is cared for.”
Patricia is helping by treating her husband with homeopathic herbs.
“He does not want chemo or radiation, and they really didn’t push that anyway because of his late staging,” said Patricia.
With bills piling up due to a 30% drop in sales in January and having to close for a weekend when Ron was admitted into the hospital (Ron and Patricia were the weekend crew), the business is in dire need of support.
“Every day is critical right now, in more ways than one,” Patricia said. “If we could increase sales, we could start to get things under control.”
“I cannot tell you how devastating it would be to lose both Ron and our dream—our business—all at once,” Patricia added.
The couple has just launched a GoFundMe campaign to try to save Maui Pasta.
The business features a take-out menu and catering items—pizza, sandwiches, family meals for four, baked goods, shave ice, smoothies, fresh sauces, dips and more. Customers are invited to take home food ready to eat, or items that can be made at home.
Some of their wholesale products are sold at Maui Foodland stores in Lahaina and Kehalani, and at Pukalani Superette. Maui Pasta favorites are also featured in restaurants around the island, such as Leilani’s on the Beach and the Royal Lahaina Hotel.
Maui Pasta is located in the former Cafe 808 location next to Waikapū On 30. Call (808) 633-3355 and go online for more information.
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