As a child growing up in Hawaii, I loved going to the beach with my family, but the day was not over until we made a stop for shave ice on the way home. It was one of my fondest memories growing up on the islands. No matter what errand mom and dad ran, it was always a treat to stop and get shave ice.
I moved to Milwaukee in 1993...wait! Why, you ask, would I move to the cold Midwest and leave the sandy beaches of Hawaii?? Four simple letters: L-O-V-E. I met and I married a German woman from Kewaskum, Wisconsin.
Once on a trip back to Hawaii with my family, we stopped at our usual local shave ice guy. While sitting on the bench eating our rainbow shave ice, my daughter, Cali, and I semi-joked about starting our own business back in Milwaukee. We just loved the whole experience of eating such a tasty treat while "talkin’ story" with the owner and other customers. It is THIS experience that we want to share with people here on the mainland.
What's most important to me, Cali, and our family is that everyone be able to feel the ALOHA that comes with each shave ice served!!
Cali's "Kealoha" Version
It’s probably safe to say that I have had the privilege of more trips to 'paradise' than most people. My dad was born and partially raised in Kauai, Hawaii. Growing up we would take family vacations to Hawaii to visit my dad’s family. I loved it; the tropical weather, the fact the beach was always right there, and the culture you could practically feel.
Hawaii has given me so many 'once in lifetime' experiences; from swimming with wild dolphins to camping on the coast, and I even learned how to hand-make leis! However, one of my favorite experiences is really rather simple: shave ice. The first thing my family and I do after arriving in Hawaii is get shave ice; on our last day before heading to the airport we stop and get shave ice; and we’d get shave ice [almost] everyday in between. Shave ice, until now, has always been something I could only indulge in when we were in Hawaii because the real thing doesn’t exist on the ‘mainland’, let alone the Midwest.
After our last trip my mom bought us a shave ice machine for Christmas. It was a beginner, but it allowed us to explore the possibility that a shave ice business could be successful in Milwaukee. We connected with Ono Kine Grindz, a local Hawaiian store, and to our surprise, Kealoha became popular in the neighborhood! We quickly upgraded our machine to the real deal and began importing syrups from Hawaii to make sure our product was as authentic as possible. It is our goal to share the aloha of Hawaii through the delicious taste of shave ice.