Mana is celebrating and we want you to join us! Our 35th anniversary has arrived and as we think back on what a wild ride it has been, the dominant sentiment is gratitude. We are grateful beyond words for all of you, your continued support, and for this incredible community that we have the pleasure of being a part of. So, in honor of Mana Foods’ 35th birthday, let’s take a little walk down memory lane together…
But first a side note: Starting today and through December 24th we will be offering…
A plethora of anniversary sales throughout the store
Several in-store giveaways (goodie bags stuffed with items from all of our favorite brands and companies–ask at the register about how to enter)
And, we’ll be selling 35th anniversary items (apparel, hats, bumper stickers) pictured throughout this post (for both men and women & while supplies last)!
Ok, now back to the story…
Mana Foods was founded by Ed Thielk in 1983 and has significantly grown from its humble beginnings with the help of partners Sunette Fenn, Theresa Thielk and Chris Ozee. Mana Foods has become an integral part of the Maui community, and is now a bustling business that employs over 130 people.
Thinking back on the beginning Ed states, “Back then it was this half-ass, half-renovated building that I rented for $160 per month.”
Located in the same place Mana Foods is today, the initial space measured a mere 400-sq-ft, featured a worn-out cement floor, and an awkward accordion door. It lacked basic organization and aesthetic appeal and seemed to have all odds against its survival. But, as irony would have it, this was the start of something very big.
“The beginning was dead slow, Paia was a ghost town, there were these big swirls of dust that blew through the store and there were no customers – it was like a scene out of the old West or something. When the windsurfers started coming into town, that’s when the business started to see a little movement forward.” -Thielk
Today Mana works with over 400 local vendors and strives to support the local business community. The colorful produce aisle consistently offers an average of 50% locally grown and 90% certified organic or unsprayed items. And, all of our hot food, deli/grab and go food, plus our baked goods are made in house daily with the highest quality ingredients.
We are extremely proud to have been voted Maui’s best health food store by The Maui News and MauiTime for the past several years in a row. We feel the Maui News and our own Purchasing Director, Christina Gilbert, said it best in the following.
"You can't miss Mana Foods in Paia – just look for the throngs of people heading into the colorful building on Baldwin Ave. Winner for best grocery market, the iconic grocery store boasts literally thousands of products, including fresh Maui produce, grass-fed island meats and organic eggs, a deli offering prepared foods made from scratch daily, vitamin-packed juices and smoothies made to order in the Maka by Mana bar, a dazzling selection of cheeses, and an entire wall of chocolate treats. Adding to this impressive inventory is a staunch commitment to affordability.”
“'We know how expensive it can be here, so our goal is to pass along all discounts to our customers to keep our prices low,' says Mana Food's Purchasing Director Christina Gilbert, who's been an integral part of the store's management for the last decade.”
“'It's how we give back,' she explains. 'We are so grateful to the community for their support and for their recognition of Mana Foods as Best Food Market.'”
“Spreading the love around, Gilbert credits the more than 100 Mana Foods employees with anchoring the store firmly in the bedrock of Maui's pono lifestyle." –The Maui News
We are proud of how far Mana has come over the past several decades, love our customers and the work we do, and strive to serve Maui with the highest-quality selections at the lowest prices.
When asked to reflect upon the history of Mana and how it came to be what it is today Ed had this to say. “At the end of the day you need to ask yourself where is your life going? What do you want, and what do you need to make that happen?” -Thielk