Special Moments... (click on photo to expand)
Ululani was born and raised in Kalihi on the island of O`ahu. She, and her husband David, from Moanalua, both grew up eating O`ahu’s finest shave ice. This is where their appreciation for ONO (delicious) and finely shaved Hawaiian shave ice began.
Upon moving to the Pacific Northwest after getting married, their craving for real Hawaiian shave ice would often prompt Ululani to say, “One day, I am going to open a shave ice shop.” This thought would often arise during the hot summer days when they could only find “snow cones” or chunky “shaved ice.” Even though the “snow cones” were icier/chunkier and the flavors were “less tasty” than the shave ice she grew up eating in Hawai`i, she always saw the long lines of people waiting patiently for those snow cones. Ululani’s thoughts would always be, “If people could just taste the O`ahu quality shave ice that we grew up with, they would realize that there is no comparison between Hawaiian shave ice and snow cones.”
This was the onset of Ululani’s thoughts becoming a reality. One summer day in 2003, Ululani followed her business instinct, took out some of her 401K money, and purchased her first shave ice machine and supplies. She started her business making Hawaiian shave ice at community events and private parties. As the years and summers went by, Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice’s reputation and exposure grew throughout the Portland, OR/ Vancouver, WA area. She found herself being an ongoing vendor at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market, all the cultural events at Uwajimaya’s Beaverton location, university lu’aus, and numerous festivals & sporting events. Ululani’s became known for their fine shave, great tasty flavors made with pure cane sugar, and warm & friendly “ALOHA” spirit. As the success of her business grew, so did the number of shave ice machines to accommodate the lines for her Hawaiian shave ice. At one of their busiest events, the 3-Days of Aloha, 4-machines were required for their never-ending lines. After a trip back home to O`ahu in August 2008, Ululani’s desire to be closer to her mom, Velma and family was stronger than ever. After a discussion with David’s sister, Iolani who lived on Maui and the economy in a slump, Ululani & David decided to move back to Hawai`i and live on Maui.
BUILDING THE VISION:
In December of 2008, Ululani & David Yamashiro and Brad Edgerton (David’s best friend, Janice’s, husband) and now partner decided to take a chance and open their first “brick and mortar” shop in Lahaina, Maui. It is here that Ululani’s & David’s experience in making fine, quality shave ice, experimenting with and creating great tasty flavors, and years of working in fine dining and hospitality industry melded with the location in Lahaina’s busy 800 block restaurant row to create the foundation for their success.
Challenges were numerous as the move took place at the peak of the recession. The Lahaina shop was a tiny 65 SF (with zero storage) and about 20 feet away from the sidewalk in a small courtyard with little to no visibility from the street. At the time, no one was looking for shave ice. There were days when only 12-15 shave ice were sold for the entire day between 10:00 am and 11:00 pm. Maintaining their commitment to only purified water for their ice and only pure cane sugar and premium purees and concentrates for their syrups were a daily challenge considering they lived in Kula, an hour away. In spite of the obstacles, the never-ending, WOW-shave ice experiences that they delivered were magnified with the onset of social media. Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice was the first 5-star rated “restaurant” with over 1000 reviews by both Trip Advisor and Yelp. They maintain that rating today at both their Lahaina and Kihei locations… their busiest shops. The support from the entire Maui community was and continues to be phenomenal. Within 3 1⁄2 months, they needed to expand their shop to 140 SF to accommodate the growing demand. After their first year in business, their demand on the town side of Maui prompted them to open their second shop on Maui in Kahului and after year two, another shop in Lahaina, and their third the year after in Kihei. They have opened a new shave ice shop or business every year since, with their first franchise in Kona in 2017 and their latest shop in Pa’ia, Maui in 2018. Throughout the years, they came to the realization that they do not just serve shave ice. They provide meaningful shave ice experiences and create memories that will last a lifetime. While they take extreme pride in and have the utmost passion for their gourmet shave ice, they realize that delivering it with genuine warmth and Aloha is what makes an Ululani’s Shave Ice, truly unique and special…ALL SHAVE ICE IS NOT CREATED EQUAL.
HISTORY OF SHAVE ICE
History of Shave Ice in Hawai`i Shave ice was brought to Hawai`i by the thousands of Japanese who migrated here to work in the sugar cane plantations and pineapple fields. The workers would take a block of ice and shave it as if planing a block of wood (or using a machete), then pour different flavored juices or syrups on them. They enjoyed it as a refreshing break in the hot, tropical climate. In those days shave ice was sold only on Sundays, the only day off the plantation workers received. When the Japanese immigrants moved off the plantations, they opened family run grocery stores (with shave ice) – and shave ice went commercial and became very popular. The popularity has grown and continues to grow. O`ahu’s best shops have popularized shave ice around the world with the most notable being Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa. From our childhood days, Sato’s in Kalihi and B & S on School St (Now Shimazu’s) were noted favorites. Other shops to note on O`ahu are Aoki’s (also in Haleiwa), Waiola’s in McCully and now also on Kapahulu Ave, Shimazu’s in Kalihi, Uncle Clay’s in Aina Haina and now Ala Moana, Island Vintage Shave Ice in Waikiki, Baldwin’s & Ice Garden in Aiea, and Island Snow in Kailua. In 2008, then President-elect Barrack Obama visited Island Snow while on O`ahu. This brought Hawaiian shave ice notable worldwide attention. All shave ice shops mentioned above on O`ahu are highly recommended by Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. ALL of them have played a big role in the history of shave ice and who we are today. MAHALO!!!