WAHIAWA, (KHON2) — To survive the pandemic, small businesses have had to adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines. Many long-time local businesses have also had to find new creative ways to bring in customers amid the pandemic.
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One of those businesses is Kilani Bakery, a Wahiawa gem that has been serving the community for 61 years.
The bakery is old school. It first opened in 1959 on Kilani Avenue in Wahiawa.
“We literally have the best customers, and it’s because of them that we keep going,” said Dawn Takara, the manager of the bakery.
Sidney Takara’s father started the tiny, humble bakery.
“I worked in the bakery washing dishes, doing little things I picked up here and there,” said Sidney Takara about his childhood.
Eventually, the bakery expanded to its current location at 704 Kilani Ave., and Sidney Takara and his brother Jeffrey took over the business.
Dawn Takara said the bakery is hard work.
“My husband and my son, they start at about six in the evening and then they go from there, and then another baker comes in about one o’clock [in the morning],” she explained.
Sidney Takara said working through the night is worth it for his community.
“I meet people at the bank like on a weekend, the teller and is there and says, ‘Oh yeah, I used to go there after high school,'” Sidney Takara said.
Kilani Bakery is known for its irresistible brownies that often sell out.
“It’s a little chewy. We have nuts in it,” Dawn Takara explained about the brownies. “[Customers] call it crack brownies,” she said.
However, the pandemic has been a difficult time for many businesses.
Sales at the bakery are down, so Kilani Bakery has come up with new ways to get customers.
“We’re very old school. We don’t like social media, but we’ve turned to social media to put ourselves out there and to do some advertising,” Dawn Takara explained.
On top of COVID-19, it doesn’t help that there is construction daily along Kilani Avenue.
The Takara’s said the construction deters many customers from going to the bakery.
However, for those who do want to support the long-time local business, there is plenty of parking available.
Because of COVID-19, the Takara’s said it is no longer about making money. It is simply about surviving for their customers.
“They follow us to the end,” Dawn Takara said about their loyal customers. “They threaten us if we ever even think of shutting down,” she said.
Dawn Takara said they also hope to stay in business for years to come, so their kids can one day take over.
“I always tell my kids, you have to love what you do,” Dawn Takara stated.