Asian Vendor Kahiki Opens Store at Site of New Plant

GAHANNA, Ohio -- Kahiki Foods, Inc., a supplier of such products as appetizers, egg rolls, and sauces to large supermarket chains and club stores as well as foodservice operations in the United States and abroad, is officially opening both a new plant and retail outlet store today here. The plant, at 119,000 square feet over 14 acres, is one of the biggest Asian frozen food facilities in the United States.

Kahiki spokesman Alan Hoover said that the store will not only carry a huge selection of Kahiki products, but also specialty foods and sauces from several other companies, including such Ohio-based brands as Circle S Farms salsas, Zio World Cuisine dry mixes, and CaJohn's hot sauces, marinades, and salsas, along with objects from the original restaurant, including ice cream bowls, leis, and key chains.

A tropical-island-themed event will celebrate the grand opening and also mark the fifth anniversary of the closing of Kahiki Restaurant, a popular area eatery that inspired the Kahiki frozen foods business. The plant has been expanded twice within the past five years, to accommodate the dramatically growing company, according to Kahiki.

According to Hoover, the 2,300-square-foot store has been open for a trial period since mid-May, but the company wished to "keep it quiet" until "the kinks were worked out" and the decor, [harkening] back to the famous Kahiki restaurant, which had a tropical rain forest on one side and an aquarium on the other," was completed. The plant also first became operational around mid-May. Another reason that Kahiki decided to delay the grand opening celebration until August was "so that we could tie in the weekend with our shareholders' meeting on Aug. 8," he added.

Hoover noted that Kahiki was inspired to open the retail store by "Nestle's very successful outlet store up in Solon, Ohio, which does a brisk business." The Kahiki store represents "a way to connect with the consuming public," said Hoover, as well as a venue for sellinf discontinuing products that don't fit on a pallet, without having to offer a "massive discount" to retailers to take them.
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