Organic, Natural Healthy HutScott Nemeroff
Co-owner, Kilauea Healthy Hut
Tell us about your work and what you do. Healthy Hut is a family-owned natural food store combination community meeting place located in Kilauea. Monique Dehne, Joseph Fiorilli and I work together as co-owners, each using our unique talents to meld a viable and living business enterprise.
Monique brings her vast knowledge of organic products, Joseph uses his culinary training, and I bring business and legal expertise to nurture a food store with health, taste and integrity.
We offer a wide selection of the best organic foods, natural health, beauty and household products on Kauai’s North Shore, whether it’s in the form of produce, baked goods, gluten-free products, raw foods, bulk products, ice cream, frozen foods, beer, wine, supplements, beauty products, sunscreens (and, of course, some chocolate and chips). We choose our selection with integrity by hand-selecting the best local and global organic foods and products.
As a family-owned and operated business, we strive to provide your ohana with selection, service and aloha.
How did you get started in this business and how long has it been going? The business was originally started as a small “hut” by Monique in 2004. In 2006, Joseph, Monique and I teamed up to expand the store to its current location and expanded our product line to the more than 4,000 different products we currently offer.
Many of our customers help us with suggestions and special requests for products that they want and that are not available other places on Kaua’i. We have tried to expand our product line based, in part, on suggestions and requests of our loyal customers. The business has grown significantly in the past six years. Not only in size and sales, but also in our product lines.
Where are you from originally and what role does that play in your business, if any? Monique is Hawaii-born-and-bred and has extensive local ties to the community. These ties help ground our business and keep us in touch with the strong local following we strive to enhance.
Joseph and I spent the first 40 years of our lives on the East Coast and moved to Kaua’i with our young son about 10 years ago after visiting for many years. Kaua’i called to us and we answered the call. While grateful to leave the East Coast rat race for the beauty and tranquility of Kaua’i, we bring a drive and professionalism to the business that was learned from working in that rat race.
What is your specialty?
Monique is school-educated and self-taught in both the food industry and the “hard knocks” of business.
Joseph is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and he uses his extensive knowledge of the food industry to translate into providing superior food products and service to our customers.
I earned a legal degree in 1984 and practiced business law and merger/acquisition work for 20 years. I have been able to use this expertise to manage the business and legal affairs of Healthy Hut.
The three of us are a unique blend of personalities and skill-sets, which together create a viable and amazing synergy.
What is your educational background? Monique is a high school graduate and attended college. Joseph graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1984, I graduated Georgetown University in 1981, and University of Maryland School of Law in 1984.
What sets your work apart? Our business model is unique in many ways.
First, we offer an extensive variety of natural and organic products in a relatively small space. Products are often stacked to the ceiling to accommodate our variety. There are still products that we do not carry that our customers want, and we are happy to special-order almost any product our customers want.
Second, while we strive to provide quality products at reasonable prices, it is important to us that the products we carry also are fair to our environment, our health and the people involved in the production of the products.
We do not carry GMO products or products that use pesticides or hormones which adversely affect our world. While you can find exotic chocolates and treats galore in the store, you will not find any products with high fructose corn syrup or processed sugars. Instead we offer sweets and a variety of products that are locally made and magically delicious.
Offering locally prepared foods and produce is a high priority for us. We strive to offer products that are produced via fair trade, making sure the workers/farmers are fairly compensated for their efforts in producing our food.
Lastly, we strive to maintain our ties to the local community. We are the store where everyone knows your name. We are a meeting place for our community and a gathering place where people come to talk story.
What is your business philosophy/motto? We have a saying: “See you at the Hut.” It fits with our philosophy of providing quality natural foods and health and beauty products with integrity and ohana, yet still a place where our community can meet and talk.
What is your business plan for the future? We intend to open a new Healthy Hut CafÃ© and Market in the old Kaua’i Pacific/Kula Elementary School in November 2012. The new space will be about twice as big and will allow us to expand our offerings to include more prepared food like made-to-order fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies, espressos and lattes, as well as an organic salad bar and hot foods, and grab-and-go sandwiches and snacks.
Our new location on Kuhio Highway at the south entrance to Kilauea will allow us to better serve our community with a more convenient location and a larger space.
Where can people learn more? We are at 4270 Kilauea Road and our phone number is 828-6626. You also can contact us via email at email@example.com. Our website is healthyhutkauai.com. We are open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.