Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMART is the 2016 SBA State of Hawaii Family-Owned Business of the Year. The Hawaii State Legislature announced the award April 5 at the State Capitol. The 135-year-old company located in Captain Cook will be honored at the 29th annual United States Small Business Administration Awards and Luncheon May 6 at Dole Cannery during National Small Business Week.
Each year since 1963, the United States Small Business Administration celebrates the achievements and contributions of small business during National Small Business Week—this year May 1 to 7. Among the most prestigious and competitive business awards in the nation and state, the annual SBA Small Business Awards honor leading small business entrepreneurs in a host of categories.
Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd./ChoiceMART was selected for the statewide honor by a panel of 14 judges that vetted hundreds of nominations. Selection criteria included demonstrated success in job creation, potential for long-term business success and economic growth, plus community engagement. Nominees in the Family-Owned Business category must also demonstrate a business track record of more than 15 years and success in passing ownership and operations from one generation to the next.
Established in 1881 as a cattle operation, Kealakekua Ranch has been led by four generations of the Greenwell family who transitioned the company from ranching to agricultural and commercial operations over the years. The company traces its roots to Henry Nicholas Greenwell’s arrival to Hawaii in the 1850s and his establishment of a successful general store that supplied the growing island community.
Now led by siblings Meg and Nick Greenwell with CEO Rhonda Kavanagh, Kealakekua Ranch includes a regional shopping center and independent supermarket, ChoiceMART. A major employer and hub of the South Kona community, the company provides employment for approximately 80 staff members and also supports hundreds of local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and other island producers by offering local produce, freshly caught fish, Big Island grass-fed beef and other island products at ChoiceMART supermarket.
“We are so honored to receive this award and thankful to the community for supporting us all these years,” says Meg Greenwell of Kealakekua Ranch while brother Nick Greenwell added he is “very humbled and thankful to the community” for the statewide accolade.
Today, the original general store is operated as a living history museum by the Kona Historical Society while H.N.’s great-grandchildren, Meg and Nick, carry on the family tradition of supplying goods and services to the community through the independently owned-and-operated supermarket, ChoiceMART and Kealakekua Ranch Shopping Center. Both are located on Kealakekua Ranch and front Highway 11.
“This award wouldn’t be possible without the support of our customers; hard-working local suppliers; and amazing team of employees,” noted Kavanagh.