Hawaii Candy Inc.
Edna Ching | August 7 , 2020
Hawaii Candy Inc. is an iconic local institution that has been producing nostalgic confections and cookies for nearly 90 years. Its current facility near the Honolulu, International Airport is about 11,000 square feet with about 24 employees recreating the same quality products as its original founder, Soichi Ohta. His confectionary journey started in Japan as an apprentice. He learned the craft of making Senbei or what is now often referred to as Wafer Cookies.
Not long after learning the trade, Soichi with his wife Kinuyo decided to immigrate to Hawaii. He preserved and brought with him the knowledge and skills of Senbei making. In 1933, he along with Kinuyo opened a small neighborhood factory and retail store. In just eight short years, they outgrew their humble factory. When a larger facility on Nuuanu Avenue was available for purchase, they seized the opportunity. And in 1941, they moved into what was the Nakano Candy Factory and renamed it the Ohta Candy Factory. It was at this factory that Soichi developed the famous Red Coconut Balls along with other signature candies like Cinnamon Balls, Lemon Drops, Chestnut Drops and Fish-Shaped Candy.
In 1954, the Ohtas decided to purchase what is now known as Hawaii Candy. The purchase conveniently included candy making machines. At that time, the family had two retail locations. The first was located on Liliha Street where they sold Senbei and candy. Their second storefront was on Nuuanu Avenue and only sold candy. While both locations no longer are in operation, one can easily find Hawaii Candy products at a local grocery store, convenience stores and online.
Soichi and Kinuyo built a longstanding business and their legacy continues with the second and third generations of Ohtas. The family’s mission is to preserve the recipes and quality of their Wafer Cookies, Puff Rice Cake and Coconut Balls with locally sourced ingredients and materials. To this day, Hawaii Candy’s Ginger Wafer Cookies continue to be coated with freshly ground ginger for that signature and unmistakable flavor that has been enjoyed by many for decades along with other notable favorites. For more information, visit their website: www.hawaiicandy.com