Maui Business

Pukalani Superette Celebrates 65 Years, Passes Tourch to New Generation of Leadership

December 9, 2020, 10:21 AM HST
* Updated December 10, 7:09 AM
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The next generation of Nakashima’s (taken pre-pandemic, pre-mask mandate) Top Left to Right: Michelle Nakashima, Megan Nakashima; Bottom Left to Right: Matthew Nakashima, Jayson Nakashima.

As Pukalani Superette celebrates its 65th anniversary this month, the business is passing the torch to a new generation of leadership.

Megan Nakashima has been installed as President of Tanizaki Ltd, dba Pukalani Superette with Aric and Myles Nakashima now serving as co-Vice Presidents.

This means that Pukalani Superette will officially return to being female operated, just like in the days when Sumiko Nakashima oversaw the store.

Megan is the daughter of Aric Nakashima and Robin Nikaido and is the eldest grandchild of the late Sumiko and Aki Nakashima.  She was born and raised in Pukalani and attended Pukalani Elementary, Kalama Intermediate, and King Kekaulike High School. She worked in the store during summer breaks.

Megan went on to do a brief stint at Columbia University in New York City before finishing her Bachelor’s of Science at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.  She went on to obtain her Master’s of Science in Molecular Biology at UH Mānoa.  Graduating during a recession meant that she needed to shift gears.

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She gave up her lab coat and her plants to work in the life insurance industry.  In seven years, she worked her way up from a temp clerical job to manager of Group Administration at Pacific Guardian Life in Honolulu.  She credits her management training and style to her mentors there.

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Megan returned to Maui and to Pukalani Superette in February 2019 and assumed the role of Director of Community Outreach and Brand Manager at the store.

In the two years that she has been here, Pukalani Superette has evolved. They participated in the Makawao Rodeo for the first time. They’ve contributed to supporting local artists by allowing their store front to be painted with murals of horses nicknamed “Puk” and “Sup”, as well as a now well known “building tattoo” of a Hawaiian Tel payphone that had to be removed.

Pukalani Superette’s commitment to support Pukalani Elementary’s 4th grade classes with school supplies was created by Megan and her brother Jayson as a thank you to the school for making such a big impact on their and their cousins’ childhoods.

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Pukalani Superette has been a long-time champion of the local farmer and local products, but they have recently made a big push to bring locally made items and produce into the spotlight. Under Megan’s direction, local farmer names are now included on produce labels so that customers can be more informed on where their food is sourced from. Recently they held a giant made in Maui sale to highlight all the locally made products in their store.

At the start of the pandemic, Megan was behind the first free food distribution which took place in Pukalani.  She has continued to work through the pandemic with organizations like Common Ground Collective and Upcountry Strong to source food and raise donations for the food distributions to Upcountry residents.

During the pandemic, she and her brother have also been integral in creating policies to keep employees safe and maintain communication with customers through social media and radio on changes and updates in the store.

On her promotion, “I am grateful that my dad and uncle trust me to lead the company for the next generation. I look forward to working with my brother and my cousins on growing the company and putting our own mark on it. I am confident that with my management team and all the hardworking employees we have, Pukalani Superette is prepared to navigate any challenge that may come our way.”

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