MATSUMOTO SHAVE ICE
Text: Race Skelton & Zen Yoshifuku
Images: Mark Kushimi
tan Matsumoto knows Hale‘iwa Town. He walks it every morning at 5 a.m. with his dog before he goes into Matsumoto Shave Ice to cook azuki beans and set up shop, just like his father did. Stan was born in 1951, the same year that Matsumoto General Store was opened by his parents. He grew up working in the store and personifies the current storefront: simple and true to its roots.
Matsumoto’s first sold groceries and canned goods, then started making shaved ice in 1956. At first they had to filter the shaved ice syrups through rice paper because the cane field sugar still had soot and debris in it. Hale‘iwa Town was much different back then; the majority of the population being 1st and 2nd generation Japanese and Filipino immigrants that came to work the surrounding sugar cane fields. Growing up, Stan watched Japanese movies at Koga and Hale‘iwa Theater, shot pool at the Town pool hall, fished and swam in the Waialua River and loved to eat at Jerry’s Sweet Shop and Yamada Restaurant.
Around the ‘60s and the ‘70s Stan starting noticing a heavy influx of traveling surfers and things were starting to change in Town. In 1976, Stan took over Matsumoto General Store and his parents retired. He began to focus more on shaved ice as other, bigger grocery stores started opening up. During this time, his buddy, Scooter, drew the Matsumoto’s logo, a sparkling rainbow shaved ice, that is still used to this day. The logo has since served as a welcomed landmark amidst a world of change.
The Town has exploded alongside the mainstreaming of surf culture throughout the past three decades. New buildings have popped up. Old ones redeveloped. New parking lots. By the late ‘90s a bypass road was built sending the traffic that used to flow through Town, around Hale‘iwa. Stan witnessed all this development and is unsure about the future of his hometown, but he knows development is inevitable. So for now—just like the past 50 plus years—he’ll stick to his business, his dog and the cool, syrupy treat all of us love.