What’s In Store At Umi’s

Umi and Ka‘iulani Martin
Owners of Umi’s Store in Waimea

Please tell us about your business. Umi: We have a small community store located in Waimea that we recently opened.

Ka‘iulani: It’s a convenience store. We sell things such as snacks, ice, cold drinks — alcoholic and nonalcoholic — and we also have some local crafts like wood and bone carvings.

Umi: Eventually, we plan to have a one-day-a-week farmers market here, with produce from our small farm, Umi’s Farm. We’re only growing kale for a couple of restaurants at the moment because we’ve been so busy with the store. But, hopefully, we will be able to grow a wide range of produce once the summer starts, like okra, tomatoes and broccoli.

Why did you open this business? Umi: I decided several years ago to get a nighttime job in addition to the farm to help support our family. I started working for the business that used to be here called Bucky’s Liquor Store, which was in operation for more than 40 years. I worked there about five years before it closed about two years ago. The property stayed vacant during that time, but people kept coming by, missing the store, and so we decided to open the business here.

How has it been so far?

Umi: It’s been a lot of work.

Ka‘iulani: We have the farm, I have another job and we have two kids: Haloa (6) and Ki‘iwai (4). But we knew it was going to be a lot of work.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? Umi: Seeing all the community come back and share their excitement about a store being open here again. I grew up in Waimea, and you cannot drive down the road without someone yelling your name out, and so it’s that same sense of community at the store.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? Umi: Getting people in the door. I think, if I didn’t already have the relationship I do with the community, it’d be way tougher.

What makes you get up every day and go to work?

Ka‘iulani: People really are supporting us and really are happy that we’re open. Every day we get new people who come in to support us, and it’s really nice. It’s nice being a part of the community and going to work every day in that kind of environment.

What are some of your future plans for this business? Ka‘iulani: Our closest goal is to get our market going in here with our farm’s produce at least one day a week. We also are continuing to increase our inventory. Umi: We’d like to be more of a variety store, especially with the ammo and hunting supplies we sell because it’s such a popular activity on the Westside. We want to pack the store up eventually with a lot of items — the store is just a catalyst.

What are your days and hours of operation?

Kaiulani: We are open seven days a week, Sunday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

4485 Pokole Road, Waimea, 338-0808