To paraphrase the old master, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of small businesses. I’m speaking of Wokstar, born in a small shop in Kihei Kalama Village. It’s dying this week, on Wednesday, Oct. 26 to be precise, at the age of three.
I was there at the birth–before, even, when the owners were bolting together benches and hanging chalkboards and generally trying to find a way to serve fresh, good food at reasonable prices. The menu was pricey, but they certainly succeeded in serving delicious bowls of rice and noodles, endless plates of tasty potstickers and incredible jaffel sandwiches. The effort they put into the place was nothing short of monumental in my humble opinion, and it showed.
I asked part-owner Sarah Gray (who goes by the moniker Sarah Sassin in the Maui Roller Girls) why Wokstar was closing. Here’s her response, which deserves to be quoted at length:
“I’ve realized this week that closing is sad, but I don’t consider it failure,” Gray wrote. “The lease is up and we don’t make money–those are the boring facts. If we had made profit a larger priority things may be different. It is disappointing, but I still see it as successful. We wanted to create a place where all walks of life could sit together and enjoy fresh affordable food. A place that people wanted to work at, that was fun and not contrived. That’s what we did for three and a half years, in a deep recession. Not a bad shot at it. The community response to us closing has been a testament to the value of the place. Some of our regulars are more emotional than me, and I’m touched by the support all the way through the final days. Those are the people that kept us going these last few years and we are grateful.”
In the mean time, Sarah is focusing on the Maui Roller Girls – specifically, their bout against the Coos Bay, Oregon roller girls on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Kalama Park Skating Rink in Kihei. This event, which marks the first time the MRG have taken on a mainland roller derby outfit, promises to be epic. Click here for more information.