Family owned and operated by four generations of the Greenwell family, Kealakekua Ranch has a rich and interesting history tracing its roots back to the 1850s when H.N. Greenwell arrived in Kona, Hawaii. Kealakekua Ranch diversified its operations in the 1970s with the development of Kealakekua Ranch Center.
Built within the 12,000 acres of Kealakekua Ranch, the Ranch Center soon became the hub of the South Kona community and gathering place for locals and visitors alike offering a variety of restaurants, shops, supermarket, and health services! The Ranch Center offers a convenient place to shop and socialize. Visit the Heritage Gallery at Kealakekua Ranch Center to learn more about the history of Kealakekua Ranch and the Greenwell family.
H.N. Greenwell Arrives in Kona, Hawaii
The fourth son of English landed gentry, Henry Nicholas Greenwell had little chance of inheriting the family estate. H.N. prepared for a military career and after selling his commission traveled to Australia and California before settling in the Kona District of Hawaii Island in 1850.
Greenwell Store – Supplies & Goods for a Remote & Growing Community
Built in 1870 by H.N. Greenwell, the general store provided all the necessities for a remote and growing island community. Located in the Kona District on Mamalahoa Highway, the original Greenwell store is less than 2 miles away from H.N.’s great-grandchildren’s present day independent supermarket, ChoiceMART, continuing the family tradition of supporting and supplying the local community.
Kona Coffee – Launching an International Gourmet Brand
H.N. Greenwell was a pioneer in the cultivation of coffee in Hawaii and brought international attention to Kona Coffee in 1873 when his coffee was honored at the World’s Fair in Vienna. Since then, Kona Coffee has gained a reputation as one of the world’s premier gourmet coffees. Today, H.N.’s descendants still grow 100% Kona Coffee at Greenwell Farms, on the same land once farmed by H.N.
Ranching Heritage – Kealakekua Ranch established 1881
H.N. Greenwell acquired over 30,000 acres of farm and ranch lands in the Kona District through reinvestment of the profits from the store, coffee farming, and livestock products. Established in 1881, Kealakekua Ranch consisted of nearly 12,000 acres in the Kealakekua ahupua’a (traditional Hawaiian land division). The Kealakekua Ranch brand symbolizes the unity between the mountain and the sea, honoring the traditional Hawaiian land division system. Arthur L. Greenwell, H.N.’s son and heir to Kealakekua Ranch successfully ran cattle on Kealakekua Ranch for many years ultimately bequeathing the Ranch to his son, Sherwood R.H. Greenwell, and daughter, Amy B.H. Greenwell.
Sherwood and Amy – Building Community and Continuing the Family Tradition
Sherwood R.H. Greenwell and his sister Amy B.H. Greenwell inherited Kealakekua Ranch from their father Arthur L. Greenwell. Sherwood managed the Ranch for nearly forty years continuing the family tradition of cattle ranching. Both Sherwood and Amy were passionate advocates for the Kona community and preserving Kona’s ranching, agricultural, and Hawaiian heritage. Sherwood was a founding member and President of the Kona Historical Society, while Amy established an ethno-botanical garden to preserve Kona’s endemic flora. Amy bequeathed the garden, located on a portion of Kealakekua Ranch lands, to the Bernice P. Bishop Museum upon her death. The garden is now known as the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden. Sherwood was influential in the development of South Kona, serving as a County Supervisor and Council Member as well as donating Ranch lands for a community park and a senior living center among other bequests.
Kealakekua Ranch Center
Arthur’s son Sherwood guided the diversification of Ranch operations with the development of the Kealakekua Ranch Center in 1973, the largest shopping center in the South Kona district. Built on 15 acres of the Kealakekua Ranch fronting Mamalahoa Highway, the Ranch Center became the hub of the South Kona community and gathering place for locals and visitors alike. While the Greenwell family continued cattle ranching for many years to come, the establishment of the shopping center marked a new era for the family’s business interests. Today, the Ranch Center offers 52,000 square feet of retail shopping featuring a supermarket, hardware store, restaurants, shops, and health services.
ChoiceMART Supermarket – Shop Local, It Matters!
In 2000, Kealakekua Ranch and Sherwood’s children Meg and Nick Greenwell came full circle returning to the family’s roots by opening a new Greenwell general store to serve the Kona district. Like their great-grandfather before them, siblings Nick and Meg Greenwell recognized the need in the community for a general store. In 2000, Meg and Nick launched the independent supermarket ChoiceMART Supermarket after the chain grocery store serving the community ceased operations in 1999. Today ChoiceMART Supermarket offers over 35,000 grocery products with an emphasis on local produce, fresh caught local fish, Big Island grass fed beef, Kona and Kau coffee, and a wide variety of other island products. ChoiceMART Supermarket is a major employer in South Kona and also supports hundreds of local farmers and fishermen by purchasing from local sources whenever possible and creating a market for their products.