Photo: Mark Fergusson, Down to Earth CEO, takes a moment to reflect on his accomplishment in overseeing a dream come true.

by Down to Earth

13,000 Square Foot Store Features Expanded Deli

Down to Earth Organic & Natural opened Kakaako’s first grocery store on Friday April 27th. The 13,000 square foot location is on the ground floor of Keauhou Lane at the corner of Keawe and Pohukaina Streets, one block mauka of SALT at Our Kaka‘ako cultural center. The Kakaako store is Down to Earth’s sixth location and the chain’s largest store, with business hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The Deli closes one hour before store closing. 

“Our Kakaako store provides local, fresh, organic and natural products to residents in an under-served part of Honolulu, while also serving nearby office workers in the downtown area,” says Mark Fergusson, Down to Earth CEO. “In addition to our new Kakaako store, this fall we will relocate our 4,000 square foot Pearlridge store into a new 12,500 square foot stand-alone building in Pearlridge Center by Toys R Us. And, next year we will relocate our 6,000 square foot Kailua store to a new 15,000 square foot location in the former Macy’s building.”

Down to Earth’s new Kakaako store has a greatly expanded deli. New deli items include “take-and-bake” or eat-in fresh baked pizzas, made-to-order wok fried Asian style bowls, vegetarian sushi, cold pressed juices, fresh made chips and fries, fresh baked bread, and much more. The new store offers Down to Earth’s extensive local fresh organic produce; organic and natural foods including dairy items; vitamins and supplements, organic and natural beauty products as well as natural household items.”

“The new location has Down to Earth’s largest selection of deli foods, with over 75 items, including delicious entrées on our hot buffet table, an assortment of amazing salads in our cold salad bar, and a wide variety of freshly baked goods—all made at the store daily from scratch,” explains Fergusson.

Hot Buffet Table

There are vegetarian versions of all-time classic favorites from American, Filipino, Asian, Mexican, Indian and Italian cooking as well as other international cuisines. Favorites include enchiladas, lasagna, eggplant parmesan, coconut curry vegetables, and stuffed shells Italiano. Other popular dishes include roasted vegetables, curry fried rice, red Thai curry, spanakopita, pancit, and Bombay spinach & tofu. There are a variety of soups made daily from scratch such as split pea, Asian lotus, mushroom barley, hearty vegetable, broccoli cashew, and many more! The Mexican 3 bean chili and chili con tofu make for a hearty meal when placed on top of a scoop of the deli’s organic brown rice.

The fresh made-to-order gourmet pizza case includes classic Hawaiian pizza with local roasted pineapple, mushroom Alfredo, Greek pizza, and many more. Customers can choose from delicious vegan eggplant tofu, Italian, Mediterranean, spinach feta and a wide variety of freshly baked manapuas and calzones that suit just about any taste. Gluten-free and dairy-free options are always available.

The store’s in-house bakery provides an assortment of freshly baked breads made from scratch along with scones, muffins, donuts and more. And, there is a wide variety of desserts including cookies, cupcakes, tasty bars, generous slices of cakes, cheesecakes and pies—all made daily. There is also a wide assortment of made-to-order deli items including sandwiches, smoothies, organic espresso drinks, fresh juices, and more.

Down to Earth Kakaako Deli

Salad Bar

The salad bar offers everyday favorites such as homemade coleslaw and potato salad and unusual items such as nutritious curry quinoa salad and rainbow kale salad, mock-chicken tofu salad, Okinawa sweet potato salad, and tofu-nori wraps. House-made dressings include green goddess, creamy tofu tahini, the deli’s popular papaya seed, and non-dairy ranch.

Décor Reflects Hawaiian Roots

The décor of the Down to Earth Kakaako store reflects the company’s Hawaii roots beginning with its logo, which features local produce and a farm scene with Diamond Head in the background.

The official state motto of Hawaii shows prominently at the front of the store: “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono.” (The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness). The Hawaii state motto inspired Down to Earth to work with Hawaiian kupuna and language experts at the University of Hawaii to develop its Hawaiian language slogan, “E Mālama i ka ʻĀina, e Ola Pono” (Cherish the Land and Live in Health and Harmony). This slogan is also a prominent part of the Kakaako store decor. 

“Our prominent display of the Hawaii state motto and our Hawaiian language slogan reflects Down to Earth’s passionate mission of engaging in right (pono) actions that benefit the land and its people (the `āina),” explains Mark Fergusson, Down to Earth CEO. “Down to Earth demonstrates these Hawaiian values and its mission through its dedication to vegetarianism, and our support for local and organic agriculture and sustainable farming practices. We seek to protect and cherish the land, provide healthy foods that are good for people, and educate customers and the people of Hawaii how to adopt and live a healthy lifestyle.”

Taking identification with its Hawaii roots further, the interior design of Down to Earth’s Kakaako location incorporates traditional Hawaiian kapa art as a key feature of the décor. The décor was designed by Philpotts Interiors, Hawaii’s oldest and largest interior design firm, which Down to Earth engaged to design the interior of its new stores. To develop the kapa art, Philpotts commissioned Dalani Tanahy, a Native Hawaiian who has been a practitioner of the art of kapa for over 20 years.

“In ancient times,” says Dalani Tanahy, “Kakaako was an area comprised of fishing villages, fishponds and salt ponds." For the Down to Earth Kakaako location, Tanahy gave these historical facts special meaning through her creative interpretation and understanding of kapa design: 

Kakaako Kapa Art