Taste the Passion of Hawai'i !
Thirty years ago Kilauea Gifts Company started as the original home of Liliko'i Passion Fruit Butter. Since then our creative kitchen has expanded production with several high quality butters, jams & jellies using exotic Hawaiian fruits and berries.
Every Store has a Story
Written by Alan McNarie Ke Ola Magazine
The Tripp family—originally Kathy, Ola, and Kathy’s mom, Audrey Kaneshiro—bought Kīlauea General in 1987. Ola’s mother, Momi Kalauli, was a lauhala weaver and Kathy was a quilter, so it was only natural for them to open the quilt shop, Kīlauea Creations, in a small garage-storage building behind the main store in 1995 to support quilters and Volcano’s growing arts and crafts community.
“The quilt shop was the dream of Ola’s mom,” says Kathy. “Unfortunately, she passed away the month and the year that it opened. She never got to see it…. Of course, it’s a business; you have to run it. It’s been a real good thing for artists in the community. We have over 200 local artists.”
They added Volcano’s Lava Rock Café a couple of years later. The store, the restaurant, and the quilt shop have expanded and modernized over the years. The interior of Kīlauea General now sports modern grocery displays, checkout stations, and an espresso/smoothie counter. And it retains the essence of a village general store: an idiosyncratic plethora of goods, from used books to handmade thick-crust pizzas. The air in the store is often fragrant with the aromas of homegrown products cooking in back: banana bread, ‘ōhelo berry jam, bread pudding, pepper jelly. Along a set of shelves on a back wall are hundreds of DVDs and Blue Rays—no red metal boxes here—for residents and tourists who need to while away a rainy Volcano evening. And this being Volcano, that loftiest and chilliest of all Hawai‘i’s communities, the usual tourist T-shirts have been replaced by a rack full of Lava Rock Café sweatshirts.
And of course, like any good country store, there’s a local family at the heart of the business. Kathy and Ola grew up together in Hilo. “We’re locally born and raised. I met her in middle school,” says Ola, then adds, with a grin, “I haven’t been able to get rid of her since.”
Sharing a workplace can be the death of some marriages. But after more than a quarter-century of working together, the Tripps are still very much in love. They thrive on each other’s company. “It’s a personality thing,” says Ola.” Understanding the gifts that she possesses—I recognize the value of that and I don’t want to interfere because it only benefits me. It’s more important than just me, because together we can do way more.”
“We wouldn’t be able survive what life throws at us without each other,” states Kathy.