Maui News

‘Aunty Barbara’ is retiring from Maui mom and pop market, Pukalani Superette after 57 years

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Barbara Silva.

After 57 years, Barbara Silva, known affectionately by customers as “Aunty Barbara” is retiring from Pukalani Superette later this month.

Silva started working at the mom and pop market in 1965, and has been a welcome face to so many customers and employees over the years.

She most recently worked in the produce packing room, which is where all of the produce gets processed and bagged. She served as a trainer to the newer employees, as well as quality control – refusing to put out produce that she herself would not buy.


“With the longest and sharpest memory, Barbara served as the store’s historian. She can recall a time when the store was run by only 6 or 7 female employees – for perspective, there are currently 65 employees. She has been with the company through countless hurricanes, dock strikes, and droughts,” according to a store announcement.

“To not have Aunty Barbara in the store is going to be a very strange feeling. It’s bittersweet knowing that we won’t get to see her every day. I am so happy for her and her retirement – I know that she will now have all the time to relax and spend with family,” said Megan Nakashima, President of Pukalani Superette. “I am grateful for all of her hard work and dedication throughout the years. Aunty Barbara was hired during my grandmother’s time, and now I have the great honor of celebrating her long tenure with the company and all of her contributions.”

The store plans to hold a private retirement party for Silva to celebrate with her family and employees. Pukalani Superette is collecting cards, notes, and memories from customers in the store to provide to Aunty Barbara.


Her longtime friend and coworker Patty Locey retired in 2021. At the time the two had worked a combined 110 years.

Aunty Barbara’s official retirement date is Feb. 28, 2023.

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