HONOLULU (KHON2) — Chances are, you’ve seen these products in stores, maybe received some cookies as a gift or even given them away. But did you know, the founders of Kauai Kookie are both in their 90s, and are still contributing to its success?
“Many times, I taste some of the products,” said Mabel Hashisaka.
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KHON2 asked what she thought about this.
“Not so good,” responded Hashisaka.
That’s 95-year-old Mabel Hashisaka. She’s one of the founders who’s not shy about telling her daughters, who run the business, what to do.
“You had lots of macadamia nut on the top, but I said put some in the cookie because on the top. It will mostly run away,” said Hashisaka.
She, along with her 97-year-old husband Norman Hashisaka started making the products in 1965 as a snack sold at the old Kawakami Store on the Garden Isle.
Kauai Kookie now has its own marketplace, cafe and bakery, selling more than a dozen different products.
“Still help, make tsukemono, a big event for us. She’ll come down; and sometimes, she watches the cook. And she’ll personally make sure they’re doing it right,” said Ann Hashisaka, Mabel’s and Norman’s daughter.
And the couple still promotes Kauai Kookie. Just last month, they traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Hawaii on the Hill event, even stopping in Las Vegas for fun.
“I think their view on life and part of why they are so lively at their age is that they rather live well today, than live longer and not so well,” Hashisaka’s daughter Ann.
The couple just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
“So, we mutually respect each other, differences; so, I think that helps us resolve many of our problems,” said Norman Hashisaka.
They enjoy socializing with friends and eating healthy, growing their own vegetables. They’re grateful for the company’s longevity and success and look forward to the years ahead.
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“Like, my mom referred to the customers,” said Ann. “The customer for us is always king, and we’re nobody without the customer. So, we try to remember that.”
“We hope to make things pleasant for everybody,” added Norman.