Family known for poi and kulolo looks to bounce back after devastating fire

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You might have a hard time finding poi and kulolo at some of your favorite stores.

A local supplier had to stop production after a fire destroyed its warehouse in Kailua.

Pomai Kulolo is a family run operation that’s been thriving for 12 years. Despite the major setback, the owners are determined to get production back up and running in a matter of days.

Fire engulfed the warehouse Tuesday evening around six o’clock, shortly after the workers had shut down and left. HFD says it was caused by electrical wiring, leaving the walk-in freezers and other valuable equipment worthless. But the owners aren’t using this time for self-pity. In fact, they’re grateful.

“The biggest thing is no lives were hurt and we are very grateful that all of our employees are safe, all of us are safe, our neighbors are safe,” said owner Rose Kekaula Polvado.

She started the company with her two brothers selling kulolo on the roadside using a secret family recipe. They then started making their signature poi branded as He Mea Ono.

“Literally, it translates into something delicious,” she said.

This is the last batch that was saved. Nearly 400 one-pound containers will go to the farmer’s market at Windward Mall, where customers are eagerly waiting.

“We promise to get the poi back on the shelves as fast as we can and hopefully you don’t have to wait long at Times and Foodland and Tamura’s and 7/11,” said Polvado.

And if all goes well, they can also start making another popular treat that is uniquely their own, haupia with kulolo on the bottom called haulolo, what else!

“How lolo is that? But the haupia itself, it’s a recipe from our great grandfather passed down. So, delicious things that we love sharing with everyone,” said Polvado.

The family is working hard to clean everything up and get the warehouse running again. They’re asking customers for a little patience and perhaps a referral for a good electrician.

The Honolulu Fire Department says the fire was accidental. Damage is estimated at $76,000. A GoFundMe has been started to help cover the costs.

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