Cover Story – Happy 100th, Komoda Store & Bakery! The Makawao Institution...

Cover Story – Happy 100th, Komoda Store & Bakery! The Makawao Institution is Still A Favorite on the Valley Isle

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Photo of owners and husband and wife, Betty and Calvin Shibuya

Melissa Tanji
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald 

Photo of Calvin Shibuya with a tray of freshly made stick donuts.

Calvin Shibuya with a tray of freshly made stick donuts. The stick donut is the bakery’s top seller these days. It is sold individually from the glass case along with guava malasadas and plain malasadas. The stick donuts are also sold in bigger volumes in plastic bags. (Photos by Melissa Tanji)

T. Komoda Store & Bakery in the Upcountry Maui town of Makawao is celebrating the kind of milestone family-run mom-and-pop businesses

Photo of Ikuo Komoda decorating a cake

Ikuo Komoda was the only family member to receive professional baking training on the Mainland. In this photo, he decorates a cake. (Photos courtesy the Komoda family)

rarely achieve: its centennial. Yes, 100 years in business. And the Komoda family is still churning out its signature cream puffs and stick donuts the old-fashioned way — by hand, and with a whole lot a heart.

Located on Baldwin Avenue, just a stone’s throw away from the Baldwin/Makawao Avenue intersection, T. Komoda Store & Bakery continues to produce homemade-style pastries that sell out hours before the store closes. The store’s issei founders, Takezo and Shigeri Komoda, established the business as a general store in 1916, selling everything from horseshoes to fabric. Against the odds, Komoda Store has weathered Maui’s ever-evolving economy and demographics, holding its own against stiff competition from such heavily marketed corporate giants as Krispy Kreme, big-box and chain grocery stores and fancy bake shops on the Valley Isle, proving it can compete. In 2009, Komoda Store & Bakery received the Small Business Administration’s Maui County family-owned business award.

Photo of Ikuo Komoda watching as dough gets mixed in machine

Ikuo Komoda watches closely as dough is mixed in the only mechanized part of the operation.

Today, Betty Shibuya, a granddaughter of the founders, and her husband Calvin run the business. Betty, who handles the retail operation, said her ancestors would be surprised to know that the business they started a century ago is still alive — and thriving.

“It doesn’t seem like a hundred years,” she said, laughing.

“I never thought about the bakery reaching 100 years old until maybe six years ago,” added Calvin Shibuya, Komoda’s baker and general manager.

“I started back in 1990 — I was the late comer. I was going to go to baking school. (But) I was told, ‘No, don’t waste your time going to baking school.’”

Calvin had retired from the U.S. Air Force and was contemplating a second career as a commercial airline pilot, until he caught the eye of the Komoda family.

He said he learned how to bake on the job. Ikuo Komoda, Betty’s late uncle and the store’s primary baker at the time, was his main teacher. It was

Ikuo who developed the recipe for the cream puffs and the popular pastries, most of which Komoda’s did not offer until he returned to Maui from baking school on the Mainland in 1950. Ikuo was the only one in the family that received professional training. He developed the bakery’s signature pastry recipes after returning home.

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Photo of bakery worker, Wendy Okamura, serving a customer

Bakery worker Wendy Okamura (at cash register) waits on a customer while Betty Shibuya (in background) reaches for pastries in the case.

Photo of store's turnovers

Some turnovers remain in the glass case some three hours after the store’s opening at 7 a.m.

Photo of Komoda Store & Bakery, located on Baldwin Avenue in Makawao

Komoda Store & Bakery is located on Baldwin Avenue in Makawao. The line of customers waiting to buy rolls, cakes and pies often flows outside the store and down the street.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations Komoda Bakery on your 100th Annversary. I grew up in Makawao & I remember when I could buy gum & candy in the store for 5 cents. A lot has changed since then, but one thing that hasn’t, is the quality of Komoda’s baked goods. My favorite – the Butter Rolls – I could eat half a bag at one sitting, by myself. So ONO. Best Wishes & many more years of success.

  2. Since 1972 I have been a customer going to Komoda for my favorite cream puffs; my husband loves the long Johns, butter rolls and bread. Everything are favorites at Komoda Bakery for our family, spanning four generations here on Maui. Congratulations on your centurion year and blessings to many more years!!

  3. The best on island and around the world the cake boss should come visit .and be able to sample .many more blessings upon all of you that work so hard . Golis ohana

  4. Mahalo for the wonderful story in Komoda Store! As progress and efficiency goes on, they no longer make my 94yr young mom’s Favorite , Azuki Bean pie n Anpan, as they made their own An for those delish offerings!!
    Congratulations, Komoda Store, on your 100th and many more to come!! Blessings!!!

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