Profile: Kalapawai Market and Kalapawai Café & Deli

Kalapawai’s Dymond Touch
What started as a ‘retirement’ job for California transplant Don Dymond in the early 1990s has now grown into a successful family business run by Don’s son Lindsey. A ‘serial’ entrepreneur with a keen business sense, Don saw the potential to turn the charming but aging Kalapawai Market on Kalaheo Avenue into a thriving Kailua landmark. He jumped at the opportunity to purchase the property and, over the years, brought his vision to reality, transforming the “beer and snack” store into a popular stop for locals and visitors alike to grab a latte or picnic fixings, specialty foods and grocery products, or a nice bottle of wine.

“Our family’s business philosophy has always been ‘don’t take on everything at once; grow the business organically’,” Lindsey explains. “So every couple of years, a new department was added, starting with a self-serve coffee counter, then an espresso bar – the first in Kailua – and eventually a wine section and a deli counter.”

In 2004, the Dymond family had the opportunity to expand on their Kalapawai Market success and build another landmark property, this time at the entrance to Kailua Town. Designed with the same iconic green and white plantation-style architecture as the market, Kalapawai Café & Deli also has grown thoughtfully over the years. From its original concept as a deli and coffee shop, the Dymonds added a small tapas-style dinner menu, and then a full table service dinner menu that changes monthly, accompanied by a list of fine wines.

“The most important part about running our businesses is to take care of our local customers, those that live a mile down the road, and respond to what they want,” says Lindsey. “It’s also important that our employees know that if they work at the market or café over time, they can earn a living wage and other benefits.”