by Alison Riggs
More than forty years ago Down to Earth Organic & Natural opened its first humble store in Wailuku, Maui. Over the decades Down to Earth has changed, grown, and moved to fill the demands of the people of Hawaii who want local, fresh, organic, vegetarian, and natural foods and products.
Down to Earth moved it's Kailua store from its former 6,000 square foot Kailua store on Hamakua Dr. into a 15,000 square foot space that has been re-developed by Alexander & Baldwin Inc., as part of the new “Lau Hala Shops” located at 573 Kailua Road.
Lau Hala Shops is an exciting retail center in the former Liberty House/Macy’s department store building on Kailua Road. This historic 65-year old building has special significance for long-time residents. Honolulu-based architect AHL added windows to the lobby and second floor and softened the exterior with the addition of wood-toned screens. Some of the original, white-painted brickwork, remains, along with Macy’s elevator — the first elevator to be installed in Kailua in 1960. On the wall by the entrance to the lobby is decorative ironwork featuring the “LH” initials from a railing from the original Liberty House store. Patterned wood doors that originally hung on Macy’s second floor are also preserved in the building’s lobby.
Customers and Team Members alike will miss our fomer Kailua location fronting the Kawai Nui Marsh, the largest wetlands in the Hawaiian Islands. Being able to watch Auku`u or Black Crowned Night Heron, 'Alae'ula or Hawaiian Moorhen, and Ae’o or Hawaiian Stilts, while enjoying a meal from the store was a unique thrill for many of us.
The opening of our new Kailua location is part of a huge growth spurt including opening a brand new store in Kakaako in April 2018 and relocating our Pearlridge store to a brand-new stand-alone building last December. As we grow, expand, and improve our stores, we are better able to stock the high-quality food and healthy living products that more and more of Hawaii’s residents and visitors are looking for.
“Our new Kailua store will enable us to provide a greatly expanded range of local, fresh, organic and natural products to Windward residents” says Mark Fergusson, Down to Earth CEO. “We are excited by this expanded store, and look forward to better serving the needs of our many loyal customers.”
The new Kailua location, as with the new Kakaako store, and the new Pearlridge store, will offer Down to Earth’s expanded selection of deli foods, including take-home pizzas, wok fried Asian style bowls, vegetarian sushi, and an array of new salads, all made to order while you watch. There will be sweet potato fries and deep-fried multi-colored vegetable chips to accompany items on the sandwich menu, cold pressed juice, and an extended selection of take-home soups. The deli will include the company’s acclaimed hot table, with delicious entrées, and salad bar, fresh juices and smoothies, a great made-to-order sandwich menu, fresh grab-and-go options, and a wide variety of tasty desserts made daily.
The goal set forth when the very first store opened in 1977 still guides Down to Earth Organic & Natural to this day — serving Hawaii’s island communities by providing local, fresh, organic, and natural products, while promoting a vegetarian lifestyle, to help improve the community’s health.
We invite everyone to visit the brand new Kailua store when you're on the Windward side. The store held its Grand Opening on August 10th. We hope to see you and your ‘ohana there!