KEA‘AU, September 15, 2022 – The iconic Hawai‘i-based macadamia nut brand, Mauna Loa, has reopened its Visitor Center in Kea‘au. Located in the middle of a 2,500-acre macadamia orchard near Hilo, the Visitor Center is one of Hawai‘i Island’s most popular tourist destinations. The on-site store has been refreshed and now includes sister brand Hawaiian Host, as well as Mana Up – featuring 14 rising Hawai‘i Island-based brands.
After two years of closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Mauna Loa has opened its Visitor Center. Located in Kea‘au, just a short drive from Hilo, the Visitor Center is adjacent to the Mauna Loa macadamia nut processing facility where it produces its “Macadamia Powered Paradise” products. The on-site store has been refreshed and marks the beginning of a multiple-year renovation plan.
Danielle Laubenstein, Senior Director of Global Marketing for Mauna Loa, shared, “My hope for guests coming to the Visitor Center is a sense of coming home to a place that is nostalgic, but refreshed and new. Not only have we updated our store, we have also updated our brand, packaging, and all our formulations to be cleaner and more sustainable. This is just the first phase of the opening as we plan for more exciting opportunities in the future.”
The Visitor Center’s store features a variety of Mauna Loa’s macadamia products, branded merchandise, and a selection of chocolate covered macadamia treats from Mauna Loa’s sister brand, Hawaiian Host. Not to mention the Mana Up collaboration, featuring 14 rising Hawai‘i Island-based brands. Mana Up is a local accelerator that provides resources and tools to help Hawai‘i entrepreneurs, artists, and makers scale globally.
“This partnership is a great example of what can happen when we collaborate. We live on an isolated chain of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, so we all benefit when we work together to grow our opportunities and success as a community,” said Meli James, Co-Founder of Mana Up. “After partnering with Mauna Loa executives as mentors in our program for several years, our collaboration at the Visitor Center is one more example of how Mauna Loa is supporting up-and-coming entrepreneurs in their own backyard,” said James.
The Mana Up partnership provides smaller local businesses access to a global audience, as travelers from across the world come through the Visitor Center doors. The brands that are featured include: Wai Meli, Big Island Coffee Roasters, Ao Organics Hawaii, Little Hands Hawaii, Sea Salts of Hawai‘i, Liko Lehua, Kaimana Jerky, Hawaiian Vanilla Co., Western Aloha, Mālama Mushrooms, Ua Body, Kapa Nui Nails, Pō Naturals, and Pawniolo Pets.
Beyond the Mana Up companies, guests will find more local handiwork and craftsmanship throughout the Visitor Center at every turn. From the hand-crafted tables made of locally-sourced mango wood, to the new flooring, lighting, and shelves, all constructed and installed by Hawai‘i-based partners. The space is a great example of a community coming together to create a local narrative to share with the world. An interactive photobooth is also available for guests to take pictures and commemorate their visit.
“Throughout the past two years, visitors have been excited to return to our Mauna Loa Visitor Center. We had guests knocking on our doors almost daily in anticipation of our reopening,” reflected Hawaiian Host Group President & CEO, Ed Schultz. “Team members from across our organization worked together to make this happen and we are all excited to welcome local and global guests to the Visitor Center again.”
The reopening of the Visitor Center has happened just a few months after Mauna Loa launched its 1.2 MW solar farm and 500 kW battery storage system. The installation is located right next to the Visitor Center and directly powers 85% of Mauna Loa’s processing plant with solar energy. This complements existing clean energy sources at the facility, which will now be powered by 100% renewables.
Visitors are invited to explore the Mauna Loa Visitor Center, view the ~3,000-panel solar farm, and see the production facility in action through its windows. The Mauna Loa team is looking forward to sharing their piece of Hawaiian paradise with all.
About Hawaiian Host Group
Hawaiian Host Group is a leading Hawai‘i-based consumer goods company with a portfolio of brands that includes Hawaiian Host, Mauna Loa, and KOHO. It produces +40 unique products, consumed in over 23 countries, that range from flavored macadamia nuts to artisanal chocolates, and even plant-based ice cream. The dedicated team of about 350 Hosts of Hawai‘i is spread across its headquarters in Honolulu and offices in Hilo, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. Both of its manufacturing plants are based on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island. For more information on how Hawaiian Host Group and its brands share the Spirit of Hawai‘i with the world, visit hawaiianhostgroup.com and follow Hawaiian Host Group on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook.
About Mana Up
Mana Up is an accelerator and venture fund for Hawai‘i-based products growing to markets globally, with the mission to increase economic opportunity and jobs for the people of Hawai‘i. To date, 74 local companies have participated in the six-month accelerator program that provides expansion opportunities and helps solve business challenges. For more information about the accelerator program, visit www.manauphawaii.com, and to shop House of Mana Up, visit https://houseofmanaup.com.
Senior Director of Global Marketing
Hawaiian Host Group
Director of Corporate Brand Strategy
Marketing & Communications Manager