April 24, 2024

tasteofthaiharrisonburg

Fashion Your personal

Mesa family shop Aloha Island Market offers Polynesian food, groceries

New Mesa store Aloha Island Market offers a taste of the islands with home-style cooking and hard-to-find snacks.

Laukau Ioelu and her husband, JP, opened the shop to bring Polynesians and other Pacific Islanders closer to home. They also want to give their culture greater exposure in the Valley. Maricopa County is home to more than 13,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, according to a 2019 U.S. Census estimate.

Laukau, who is Tongan Samoan, said she was born in Tonga and raised in Hawaiʻi before moving to Arizona about 30 years ago, while JP, who’s Samoan, was born in Honolulu.

“I missed that aloha feeling you get from the Polynesians,” Laukau said.

She described the aloha spirit as a welcoming energy, of feeling loved even from a stranger walking through the door.