The Kuau Mart is a little shop on the Hana Highway that is an institution for Maui's north shore surfing/windsurfing community.
Its location makes it perfect for a quick lunch break between Hookipa sessions. Lasagna, meat balls, fried fish and the legendary teriyaki chicken... everything at the Kuau Mart costs $4.17... and the leftovers are free when they close at 7pm!
Everybody loves the family that has operated it for years. The legendary Liona (one of the funniest ladies I have ever met) and her daughters have always made all the north shore residents feel at home when walking in the shop.
Quite easy to end up in line behind legends like Laird Hamilton or Robby Naish in there.
Unfortunately, the galloping Lahaina-ization process of Paia is about to hit it too.
The owner of the building, in fact, just asked for a rent increase of $5,000.
Here's the letter (click on it to read it).
Here's a few info on the number of tourists that every year visit Maui (2.5 million in 2006... and it's not going down!) that will help understand why the rents of shops in Paia are skyrocketing.
Most of the tourists that come to Maui will include a trip to Hana in their stay and Paia is on the way. It actually is the last town before getting into 52 miles of narrow and winding (and beautiful) road. Most of the tourists that go to Hana, hence decide to stop in Paia and... what do most tourists do in vacation? But of course, they shop!
Did you read that list of shops in the letter? None of them is, im my opinion, aimed to serve the local community (even though I confess I do splurge on a cup of gelato once in a while). They are all making business with the roaming tourists.
Can you blame them?
Can you blame the Kuau Mart building's owner for wanting to make more money, knowing that he can (a fashion shop will make enough money to afford that rent)?
But who is going to take care of the needs of the local community?
Exactly the same thing happened a few years ago with the Paia General Store, another piece of history that had to leave room to a new complex of tourist shops. Thank god Mana food is still there, otherwise Paia residents would have to go to Kahului for grocery shopping!
I don't know what to say. We live in a world that is ruled by money and there's not much we can do to change this on a global scale.
If you don't like this particular case though, you can stop by the shop and sign the petition below... will it help? I don't think so... but at least you will express your solidarity to the Nomura family!
On a more positive note, the forecasted epic surfing conditions did happen and I am incredibly surfed out. My cut is fully healed, but two weeks out of the water didn't help keeping the muscles' tone up. Looks like even my skin got softer, since I have rashes on every single point of contact between body and board... time for a standup session, I guess. Been taking a bunch of little videos, stay tuned for that.
In the meantime here's a few photos I took from the lookout this morning, before heading towards my session.
Beautiful and glassy and with the usual drop ins.
Lastly, because of the very light (or complete lack of) wind, the Freak meeting scheduled for tomorrow at upper Kanaha has been postponed to Saturday June 7th.