Kapa‘a Liquor & Wine Co. Folding After 75 Years of Service
By Léo Azambuja
Lyle Kuboyama is seen here in front of Kapa‘a Liquor & Wine Company. His father opened the business in 1940.
By the end of June, one of the longest-running businesses in Old Kapa‘a Town and an icon of long-gone plantation days will close its doors for good.
“There used to be this line of family businesses along the street here. We are one of the last dinosaurs,” said Lyle Kuboyama, owner of Kapa‘a Liquor & Wine Company.
The small liquor store that for 75 years served mostly residents is going out of business. Lyle, who will be 71 years old this year, says he’s slowing down and it’s only getting harder to run the business by himself.
“And I need to do some other things I haven’t been able to do,” the humble, soft-spoken storeowner said in an almost inaudible voice.
Kashiko and Yukiko Kuboyama
Lyle said he’ll shut down when his liquor license expires at the end of June. Until then, he’s liquidating his hard-liquor, but is still stocking on beer and soft drinks.
The story of Kapa‘a Liquor & Wine goes back before Lyle was even born.
Lyle’s father, Kashiko Kuboyama, worked on his family’s rice mill in Hule‘ia, Lihu‘e. After the mill shut down around 1930, the Kuboyamas bought the Hayashi Hotel in Nawiliwili and reopened it as Hotel Kuboyama.
Kashiko was an electrician and also sold appliances. While living in Nawiliwili, he sold a sewing machine to a seamstress in Kilauea. Later he married her daughter, Yukiko Kuboyama.