As everyone and their mother knows, living in Hawaii – and therefore on Maui – is expensive. Whether you were fortunate enough to grow up in the Aloha State or moved here last October to start your own shave ice stand, the high cost of living is enough to make most people think twice about permanently relocating to tropical paradise.
Those of us who do live in Hawaii, however, realize the importance of supporting our local business owners as opposed to larger, typically more corporate entities who often use their profits for off-island investments. It helps to remember that Maui, in particular, is still a small island, and for every 1,000-room, 5 star resort or multi-million dollar oceanfront home built just off the shoreline of our favorite beach, there are 20 talented local entrepreneurs working hard to make a living creating something they love in a place they love to call home.
Today we’re here to share some of our favourite local entrepreneurs on Maui, and several ways to show them your support the next time you find yourself on Maui, or afar!
Shop Local, Maui Style
Make no mistake, Maui’s small business owners are lightyears beyond selling the same ole cheesy Hawaiian knickknacks. We highly recommend the following Valley Isle businesses…
MAUI OLIVE COMPANY
The first ever company to produce their own olive oil on Maui, the father & son duo behind Maui Olive Company is undoubtedly one of the most talented and original local businesses around. Step up your cooking – or bread dipping – game with some of their handcrafted olive oil varieties, which are all locally grown, pressed and processed on the slopes of Haleakala. Grab a bottle online, at the Upcountry Farmers Market on Saturdays in Kula, at their soon-to-open farm stand on Waipoli Road (below the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm), or MauiWine soon as well.
For a different kind of Maui souvenir or gift item, we love the custom letterpress stationery from Linda of Aloha Letterpress. Designed and printed locally on Maui, choose from personalized stationery sets inspired by the flora and fauna of the island, as well as aloha & mahalo cards, holiday card sets, handmade journal books and even recipe cards. Shop online or catch her at local events such as the annual Made in Maui County Festival.
What was once a simple farm-to-spoon idea has now blossomed into Haleakala Creamery, one of our top picks for those seeking the sweeter side of life. Selling a variety of locally crafted caramel products, such as their delicious Hawaiian Vanilla Goat’s Milk Caramel and Dulce de Leche Cow’s Milk Caramel, among others, we highly recommend scoring a tasty jarred caramel or two as a topping on ice cream and pie, with apples or even in your morning coffee. Shop their products every Sunday at the Upcountry Farmers Market in Kula or one of several local retailers around the island.
Originally founded on Maui by resident Olive Cadwell, Body HI offers an unparalleled line of organic cold process soaps and bath bombs, perfect for unwinding after a long day or simply for those looking for skincare products made with all natural local ingredients. From unique varieties like the Charcoal Cleanse and Ultimate Detox bars to favorites like the Coconut Rose Bath Bomb and Exotic Green Tea & Honey Soap, trust us when we say your skin will never feel, smell and look better. Shop online or at local retailers like The Market by Capische (Wailea), Sun Days (Paia), Biasa Rose (Paia) and Chloe Beach Boutique (Lahaina).
When in doubt, give the gift of booze. Ocean Organic Vodka is distilled on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano by the fine team at Hawaii Sea Spirits, and is now available in all 50 states if you don’t feel like carting it back home in your luggage. Alternately, you can always grab a bottle after your private tour of the distillery on our Taste of Maui or Ultimate Craft Adventure tours and enjoy it before you leave the island!
MILL HOUSE ROASTING CO.
Because Hawaii is the only state in the country able to farm and produce its own coffee, locally roasted coffee from Maui is a must have while you’re here, and even after you return home. If you can’t do without your daily cup’a joe, stock up on some farm fresh varietals like the Maui Dark Roast, Maui Mokha, or Maui Peaberry at the Mill House Roasting Company. Located at the stunning Maui Tropical Plantation near the base of the West Maui Mountains, all of our Maui Craft Tours begin with a special morning coffee tasting at this beautiful Maui hotspot.
Created by talented local artist Amanda Joy Bowers, Skelefin Studios features an assortment of island-inspired gear, from Maui map stickers to T-shirts to trucker hats. We absolutely love her work, and think her artsy items make a great souvenir for all ages. Shop her collection online or in local retailers like Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center, Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, Hi Tech Surf Sports, Andaz Maui, Wailuku Coffee Company and Shakas & Aloha.
MAUI SHRUB FARM
Family-owned and based in the lush hills of Haiku, Maui Shrub Farm is a relative newcomer to the Maui craft business ohana. With a variety of handcrafted drinking vinegars that go well in cocktails and healthy beverages, including flavors like Hibiscus & Orange, Lilikoi Passion, Pineapple & Sage and Ginger & Hawaiian Chili, we absolutely love their creative concoctions. Browse their list of drink recipes for ideas, and shop their drinks online or one of many Maui retailers around the island.
We know we’ve missed a ton of others, so let us know which small businesses you love to support on Maui! Mahalo for reading our guide to shopping local on The Valley Isle, and we look forward to sharing some aloha with you soon.
All photos are the property of the individual business owners.