One year later, West Maui continues to embrace newest Minit Stop
By Hilary Reeves
More than a year after Minit Stop opened its doors along the winding Lahaina Bypass Highway behind the West Maui Mountains (and 35 years after the company pioneered the first self-serve gas station on Maui), business is still booming.
“We received a huge welcome from the local community at our Grand Opening in December of 2013,” said Store Manager Naomi Guro, who was born and raised on Kaneohe, Hawaii and moved to Maui in 2013. “Once our doors opened, the coconut wireless [a Hawaiian euphemism for “the grape vine”] and social media lit up with the news. The store, open only a few hours, was swamped with customers, all excited to take boxes of fried chicken home to their families. The store was so busy, the entire Minit Stop headquarters staff had to come and work in the store during the first two weeks to help make the chicken and fill food orders.”
Guro said the initial community response and continued popularity of the Lahaina Minit Stop – one part gas station, one part take-out food mecca – wasn’t entirely unexpected.
“(The company) had been searching for a Lahaina store location for a good number of years,” she explained. “That area of the island had been underserved by Minit Stop and Hawaii Petroleum’s fuel program for a very long time.”
Guro said she accepted her position at Minit Stop after hearing many favorable things about the company when she first moved to Maui. She said she is proud to manage the new, 3,000-square-foot space.
“The Lahaina store’s layout is actually the new template design for all future locations,” Guro said. “The layout and kitchen are the epitome of our ideal store format after years of design tweaks.”
Located at 10 Kupuohi Street, the store features public restrooms, a full kitchen, and is the only gas station on Maui’s West side carrying all fuel grades: diesel, off-road diesel, biodiesel, non-ethanol, and the normal three grades of gasoline. But Minit Stops are perhaps best known for their variety of food offerings, including Minit Stop’s Famous Fried Chicken, box lunches, plate lunches, and deli sandwiches and salads, all prepared fresh daily, made on-site, and packaged for the grab-n-go convenience shopper.
“The Lahaina store opened very strongly with the food service program leading the way, and quickly became one of our top stores for food service sales,” said Jon Miyabuchi, Vice President Retail Operations at Hawaii Petroleum and General Manager of Minit Stop Holdings, LLC.
Miyabuchi echoes Guro’s sentiments on the support of the surrounding community.
“The Lahaina community has warmly embraced Minit Stop,” he concluded. “We hope the future holds more locations throughout the islands. The Lahaina store now makes us 16 locations strong, and we confidently look forward with more to come.”