Here’s The Scoop On Pink’s

Joleen Medore and Robert Prongay
Owners, Pink’s Creamery

Please tell us about your business. Medore: Pink’s Creamery, located in Hanalei, offers a large assortment of ice cream, smoothies and milk shakes. We also make frozen yogurt flavors in-house, and granita, which is a dairy-free Italian dessert. We’re also known for our specialty, Hawaiian Grilled Cheese sandwiches. The business originally opened about five years ago, and we purchased it a little more than a year ago.

What exactly are the Hawaiian Grilled Cheese sandwiches and granita?

Medore: We have three options for our grilled cheese sandwiches. Our traditional Hawaiian Grilled Cheese is made with Muenster cheese, Kalua pork and pineapple with Hawaiian sweet bread. The Pineapple Grilled Cheese is the vegetarian version minus the pork. And we have the Mainlander, which is a regular grilled cheese sandwich on Hawaiian sweet bread.

Granita is a light, icy treat that is a cross between shave-ice texture and sorbet. We make it using just fruit (local whenever possible), but we shave each flavor by hand rather than churning.

Why did you decide to purchase this business? Medore: Our original plan was to live on the Big Island because Robert had lived there before. We love Hawaii and planned to move here from North Carolina (we are originally from New Jersey). We didn’t really have anything set in stone, and when we visited Kauai, we fell in love with it. We happened to come into Pink’s Creamery for a Famous Date Shake and there was a sign that said the shop was for sale. The owner was there and he showed us around. It planted a seed in our minds. We went home, tossed around the idea and kept in touch. We eventually made an offer, took over the business and moved in 30 days.

What sets your business apart? Medore: We offer 20 gourmet ice cream flavors made on Maui called Roselani Gourmet.

Prongay: People might be familiar with Roselani from grocery stores. They offer ice cream for retail, and then they have their gourmet line, which is only available for sweet shops. So the formula is different and the ice cream is slow-churned, using a high level of cream.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? Medore: Just that it’s ours. We refer to it as our child because it takes that much effort. It just feels really good to have something that we built and are still in the process of building — it’s a really nice feeling.

Prongay: It’s an ice cream shop, so people come in and they’re usually in a good mood. We’ve made a lot of friends.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? Medore: The amount of time we put into it. But we knew that coming in we’d have to put in the leg-work. That’s been the biggest issue.

Prongay: We’ve worked every single day since opening the shop.

What’s your advice for small-business owners? Prongay: Running a business is tough, especially getting everything we need. Being located in Hanalei, our supplies are at least an hour away, so if we run out of spoons one day, we have to drive all the way to town.

And then, sometimes you get there and they’re out.

What kind of environmentally friendly practices do you have? Robert: We try to incorporate as many local ingredients as possible. And it changes with the season.

Medore: We’re also very conscientious about waste here. We use reusable taster spoons and we’re trying to move away from plastics.

What are some of your plans for the future? Prongay: We’re still slowly changing the business, and we have a lot of progress to make over time.

Medore: A big part of our current renovation is to create a better flow and to have indoor seating for customers.

Why do you do what you do? Medore: Robert and I were both in sales before and worked from home. We’ve also had a lot of experience eating ice cream.

Besides the tasty treats, what else sets your business apart from others? Prongay: We try to give everyone the best possible customer service that we can.

Medore: We actually just were awarded the 2013 Certificate of Excellence from That was incredibly flattering.

Do you offer any specials for kamaaina? We offer a 10 percent discount.

Open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 4489 Aku Road, Hanalei