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Kealakekua Ranch honored by SBA

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CAPTAIN COOK — Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMART was named the 2016 SBA State of Hawaii Family-Owned Business of the Year.

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CAPTAIN COOK — Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMART was named the 2016 SBA State of Hawaii Family-Owned Business of the Year.

The Hawaii State Legislature announced the award April 5 at the State Capitol.

The 135-year-old company located in Captain Cook will be honored at the 29th annual United States Small Business Administration Awards and Luncheon Friday at Dole Cannery during National Small Business Week.

“We are so honored to receive this award and thankful to the community for supporting us all these years,” Meg Greenwell of Kealakekua Ranch said in a media release announcing the award.

“Very humbled and thankful to the community,” her brother, Nick Greenwell, added about the family’s reaction to the statewide accolade.

Each year since 1963, the United States Small Business Administration celebrates the achievements and contributions of small business during National Small Business Week, which began Sunday and runs through Saturday. Among the most prestigious and competitive business awards in the nation and state, the annual SBA Small Business Awards honor leading small business entrepreneurs in a host of categories.

Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd./ChoiceMART was selected for the statewide honor by a panel of 14 judges who vetted hundreds of nominations. Nominees in the Family-Owned Business category must demonstrate a business track record of more than 15 years and success in passing ownership and operations from one generation to the next.

Established in 1881 as a cattle operation, Kealakekua Ranch has been led by four generations of the Greenwell family who transitioned the company from ranching to agricultural and commercial operations over the years. The company traces its roots to Henry Nicholas Greenwell’s arrival to Hawaii in the 1850s and his establishment of a successful general store that supplied the growing island community.

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Now led by siblings Meg and Nick Greenwell with CEO Rhonda Kavanagh, Kealakekua Ranch includes a regional shopping center and independent supermarket, ChoiceMART. A major employer and hub of the South Kona community, the company provides employment for approximately 80 staff members and also supports hundreds of local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and other island producers by offering local produce, freshly caught fish, Big Island grass-fed beef and other island products at the supermarket.

Today, the original general store is operated as a living history museum by the Kona Historical Society while H.N.’s great-grandchildren, Meg and Nick, carry on the family tradition of supplying goods and services to the community through ChoiceMART and Kealakekua Ranch Shopping Center.