At the end of the road past Hanalei on Kaua'i's North Shore, weary travelers will find the Wainiha Country Market, a local store that brings good food and creates a strong community in a region that's often left inaccessible.
"We're out here in what folks like to call the Deep Country," says Joell Edwards, the market's new owner. "This outpost has been active for over a hundred years in Wainiha, with the previous owner spending nearly 45 years running what was called 'The Last Chance' market." According to Joell, the locals always need provisions of some kinds, and with seven one-lane bridge crossings heading east to the town of Hanalei, people like to stay close to home.
It was that very same passage of twisting and turning coastal roads that trapped Wainiha in 2018, when a historic flood cut off the town. Joell helped her small community work together to get through the wake of the flood, and she knew she wanted to do something more to help.
"The people that had the market prior to us had it for 45 years. They decided to retire in 2014, and they passed it to their kids," says Joell. "Then came the historic flood in 2018 that brought 52 inches of rain in 24 hours and created 17 landslides on the highways, shutting down the town completely. We were helicoptering in food and supplies." That's when Joell started thinking about the market and how it could be a community space.
"I am a food access coordinator, and food insecurity is my thing," she says. "When the market closed, my family and I wanted to bring the food back into the area and have it be a gathering spot." They contacted owners and re-leased it and did the work on the integrity of the building after the floods.
It's a family endeavor, as their daughter works the market, her husband is fixing up the place has been working every day since July 2020 on the property and now her son and daughter in law have opened an organic shave ice stand next door to the market. "The reception has been overwhelming," said Joell. "People don't want to drive two miles away and cross bridges and it's kinda a curvy road, so now they can stay close to home next to the ocean. We're in one of the best locations on the islands."
There is also a home school education facility on the property known as The Makana Learning Center that is free for kids to support for distance learning and tutoring.
Designing a custom logo sticker for the market
The sticker design uses the classic circle shape and a black text with white background and features Nola, the Edwards family dog, as the star right in the middle of the sticker giving it just the right amount of personality.
"Nola is our greeter, our mascot, and our attention hound, even though she's a Boston Terrier," says Joell. "People know her on the North Shore, and and it made sense to have her on the logo. She runs to their cars as the greeter; she's the logo that's the window cling on the front doors and everything else."
To visit Nola while geting some local produce and circle logo stickers, head west on the Kuhio Highway out of Hanalei. When you get to Anahulu Road, there you'll find the cheery staff at Wainiha Country Market. If you can't get there to see them in person, check them out on Instagram @wainihacountrymarket and Facebook @WCMKauai to get a little slice of Aloha.
"When you live where we live, it's very labor intensive to get anything," says Joell. "It takes long time, so I do a lot of research and make sure it's right. That's why these stickers were perfect for us."
TRY MATTE DIE CUT STICKERS