From Issei Entrepreneur to Sansei Business Major, Hirano Store Has a Rich History

Patsy Y. Iwasaki
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Buckets of rain had been falling in East Hawai‘i all week long and it looked like it was going to be another soggy and overcast day. But the gloomy weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of 91-year-old Mieko Nagao this past Feb. 17. Nagao had already made plans with her son Owen, visiting from Long Beach, Calif., to accompany her to the festivities taking place at her nearby Glenwood neighborhood store.

The celebration of the 100th anniversary of Hirano Store — the beloved and always reliable small-town business that has been providing groceries and other essentials for the small communities in the Volcano and Ka‘ü areas for a century — was definitely a milestone to celebrate. Judging by the long line of cars parked along the shoulder of Highway 11 (often referred to as the Hawai‘i Belt Road or Volcano Highway), well-wishers weren’t letting the rain stop them from celebrating Hirano Store’s 100th birthday.

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