The seemingly endless line of customers outside of Matsumoto’s Shave Ice has never intimidated Aoki’s. This mom-and-pop shop a couple doors down also sells shave ice to Oahu’s North Shore but tends to keep a more modest profile. That’s not to say Aoki’s hasn’t snagged its own loyal following over the past few decades…
Aoki’s back in the day, when the shop’s sign was a painted sheet.
A following of locals, tourists, repeat customers and first-timers that say they’ll miss visiting Aoki’s when the shop closes down next year. As part of a plan to redevelop the North Shore, the landowners – Kamehameha Schools – plan to demolish the historic wooden structure that Aoki has called its home for years. In the process, Kamehameha will build replicas of the surrounding vintage-looking buildings.
The Aoki family writes on their Facebook page: “A majority of (the neighborhood board) probably want fancy sidewalks and “cool” places to hang out and drink. I’ll bet…when we want to get a little family mom&pop shave ice stand set up they’ll probably laugh and deny us! Sad sad things going on on the North Shore.”
Many customers are shocked by the news but have banded together in an effort to save the mom-and-pop known for its colorful charm of yesteryear. Customers from all over the world have been posting words of support and encouragement on Aoki’s Facebook page. Some even uploading photos of their family enjoying shave ice during their most recent trip to the islands.My favorite post is by a customer from New York. She and her family lived in Hawaii for three years before moving to the mainland, and for three years, a trip to Aoki’s became a Sunday ritual. They miss Hawaii so much that they ended up naming the new family pup, Aoki!
Hopefully not the last time we get to enjoy Aoki’s shave ice.
The Aoki family doesn’t want their loyal customers to fret. They hope to continue selling this thirst-quenching delight at their recently-opened country store called “Aoki’s North Shore Trading Co.” Ironically, it’s right across from Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. Many remember a time when Aoki’s was more than a shave ice stop on the North Shore. It once housed a barbershop, sewing center and fresh produce. Hopefully it’ll become more than just a fading memory and pick up where it left off…in all its sweet syrupy glory!
Photo Courtesy: Aoki’s Shave Ice Facebook