Jan 13, 2016
Made With Aloha: Honolulu Cookie Company
Here in Honolulu, there are few brands that have become more iconic to the city recently than Honolulu Cookie Company.
Founded by Keith and Janet Sung nearly 20 years ago, the first official shortbread cookie from the duo rolled out of the oven in 1998. With an original recipe and a passion for creating a premium product that would make the Islands proud, no detail proved too small for the Sungs. Whether it was the cookie's delectable taste, unique pineapple shape, or its subtle-yet-sophisticated packaging, the final product was quite literally a work of art. From their humble beginnings, the brand has quickly grown over the past decade and a half, establishing 16 storefronts in Hawai'i and abroad and expanding their workforce to more than 400 employees.
With an artistic background, Keith Sung wanted his creations to be more than just delicious. He wanted it to please both the consumer's artistic and literal palate alike. He yearned to create something both unique and emblematic of the islands while also symbolizing Hawaiian hospitality. After much thought and deliberation, the now-iconic pineapple-shaped cookie was born. "Our pineapple shape allows people to identify the brand with the Islands. It's tropical, it's warm, it's friendly…it's Hawai'i," confidently says Ahmad Yu, the company's vice president of operations.
Originally only available for wholesale, Honolulu Cookie Company with a keen eye for business, found a growing demand for their delectable treats. The cookie connoisseurs quickly found themselves in the fast lane, opening a string of brick-and-mortar locations throughout the island, with its first retail storefront right here in Ward Village. To ensure that Honolulu Cookie Company never sacrifices quality, they've employed a battalion of bakers who do it all by hand. Each and every morning at 5 am they gather at the brands' kitchen on Sand Island to begin rolling, shaping, dipping, and cooking the premium shortbread cookies that have made them world famous. Each and every cookie you'll find on shelves in storefronts worldwide are individually wrapped.
In addition to their 10 storefronts in Hawai'i—seven on O'ahu and three on Maui—overseas and international markets have developed a taste for hand-dipped Hawaiian shortbread as well. Las Vegas now boasts two stores, and there's also one in Korea. And just a few weeks ago, Honolulu Cookie Company collaborated with Tommy Bahama to offer their delicacies in Tokyo. Despite their growth, the brand has remained committed to ensuring quality and the customer service that they've become known for will never be sacrificed. "In Hawai'i, we treat everyone like family," said Sheri Komori, of Honolulu Cookie Company. "So when visitors come here, we treat them like family too."
True to their sense of aloha, Honolulu Cookie Company has shown that they're committed to the islands by giving back to causes we all hold dear to our hearts. "As a company we're passionate about creating a great product, but we also love to support the islands as well. We support the Hawai'i International Film Festival, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and a host of other art and education initiatives," says Herman Tam, the brand's vice president of marketing. "Giving back is part of what makes Hawai'i special, and we love supporting these organizations."
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