A World of General Stores

August 10, 2016


One of the things that makes Molokai such a beautiful place is the untouched landscape and the lack of commercialism. As you fly over the island on your way to the airport, you see nothing but open space with a few houses dotting the landscape. When you land, it's at the cutest little (I mean little) airport you ever will see where the baggage truck is a push cart and the baggage claim also doubles as a bench when not in use. Don't blink when you enter town, or you will literally miss it. I was talking with a couple who drove all the way to the east end of the island because they were looking for the town and didn't believe the one row of buildings were it, so they kept going. What does all this have to do with General Stores you might ask, well let me tell you. After you have been here for about 1/2 day you start to realize there is not much else outside what I just mentioned here on the island. You will start dreaming of living in such a place of peace and solitude, where everyone waves to each other as they drive by. You will then begin thinking I could quit my job and move here, then it will hit you, What in the world do people do here to make a living? There are no shopping centers, no factories, no giant business centers. No military bases, federal buildings, fast food restaurants or even a Wal-Mart. That's where the General Store comes in.

Molokai is an island of General Stores, not literally, but in concept. Anyone who grew up in a rural area knows the General Store. It didn't have everything or a giant selection, but it has what you need. It was the grocery store, hardware store, automotive center, deli and 7-11 all rolled into one. The people on Molokai are the same. Very few people only do one thing. I was driving through town one day and saw a shipping container in the parking lot of Paddlers (One of the two main restaurants in town) with a sign that said "Furniture for Sale". Since we just moved here and were in the process of setting up our downstairs as a B&B and needed a few items, I stopped to look. Of course, being Molokai, the guy selling the furniture started talking with me. We chatted a while and I found out the furniture was from the 4 seasons on Maui. They had remodeled and he bought some of the old furniture and shipped it here to sell. He asked me where I lived and I told him. He said I know exactly where that is, I trimmed the Kiawe trees in the empty lot by your house. He also told me he paints houses on the side in case I was looking to get my house painted and he was also the local chiropractor in town. He was a full blown General Store.

It's like that everywhere on Molokai. Our local insurance agent not only sells insurance, but if you walk into his office, he also sells T-shirts and he is also one of the leaders of our church. Everyone I meet here does at least two things and most do more. I guess that's the price you pay for living in paradise, and so far I think it is worth it. Until next time, so long from the island of General Stores.

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