Made In Hawaii: Diamond Bakery
You may recognize that familiar red box whether it's Soda Crackers, Saloon Pilots, or Royal Creems. Diamond Bakery has been a Hawaii staple since the company's founding in 1921.
HONOLULU - You may recognize that familiar red box whether it's Soda Crackers, Saloon Pilots, or Royal Creems. Diamond Bakery has been a Hawaii staple since the company's founding in 1921.
"We started with one small oven and borrowed equipment from a company that had recently discontinued making crackers," said the founder's grandson Carl Murai.
Carl Murai's grandfather was one of three Japanese immigrants who scraped together enough money to cook up something of their own.
Today, that business is booming at their factory in Kalihi!
"He's making the soda crackers for tomorrow's production run. And then he's gonna let it lay in our holding area overnight," said Diamond Bakery President Gary Yoshioka.
On the day we visited, Yoshioka showed us the system behind these soda crackers. Tradition matters here. Many of the machines are older than many of the people who work here! One of them is the stamper.
"And this is no oridinary oven! It's 40 yards of intense gas-fired heat!" said Yoshioka. "On the other side, the finished product! And if you're lucky, you get to try one fresh!"
It takes lots of hands to get them to the store. Rosalinda Hernandez knows that well. She's been packing and sorting crackers here for 24 years! So what's her favorite?
"All of them!" said Hernandez.
She likes them all, but there is a standout.
"I like everything, especially I like soda crackers the best," said Loreo Cabbab, who has been a baker for 36 years.
Diamond Bakery is hoping this will be the new favorite -- shortbread cookies. The new line launched with four flavors in late January 2016. We got a taste of the coconut, fresh out of the oven.
They're banking on that real butter taste to launch their brand into the gift market. Still, at its core, Diamond Bakery is baking nostalgia. What's the secret ingredient?
"A lot of love. And Aloha I would add. Those two things," said Yoshioka.
Those two things have taken Diamond Bakery, from those first founders with a dream and borrowed equipment, to a booming business making a million crackers a week!
"I'm sure the founders looking back would say, wow, this company has come so far, and I wonder where it's gonna go next?" said Murai.