Announcing the first winner of the #LoveLocal grant

We’re proud to announce that Hawaii-based Kalapawai Market has won the first #LoveLocal grant! They will receive $5,000 and a year of free Fivestars to help recover after a devastating burglary on Thanksgiving Day. 

Our company was founded with a strong belief in giving back. We recognized the importance of local businesses within their communities, and we saw the importance of helping those businesses.

That’s why, toward the end of 2019, we decided to start the #LoveLocal grant to support a local business who is making their community great but has been hit by special hardship. One complication can cause a small business severe harm, because they often don’t have the means to bounce back. In a very short time, we received over 2,000 nominations, and were overwhelmed with gratitude. We were also humbled.

Each entry detailed how the business shaped their community, through daily dedication and work. Each entry also described hardships, from cars crashing through storefronts, to medical events upsetting business operations, that further underscored the challenges in owning a small business.

Even though Kalapawai Market resides in the tropical paradise of Hawaii, it endures the same common complications as any other small business. They got burglarized on Thanksgiving: the culprits took thousands of dollars in cash and equipment, including even Christmas ornaments. It wasn’t an isolated case. Kalapawai Market had been vandalized before.

But Kalapawai Market believes in people. The burglary didn’t change how they looked at the place they live, or who lives there. They decided not to change the type of people they hired, which meant continuing to take chances on people who’d have trouble finding other employment opportunities.

Kalapawai Market wants to keep supporting the same community who supported them. Owner Lyndsey Diamond had this to say, when he learned his business had won.

“We were so grateful to hear that a member of our staff nominated us, and so many people across the nation voted for us. Their support reinforces our commitment to our employees and local community.”

Their story reminded us why Fivestars exists. We sustain local businesses, because local businesses sustain entire communities. All our three finalists–in fact, every one of the 2,000+ stories we read–refreshed our passion for this mission.

Tangela Keahey, owner of Nail Fanatics, is deeply committed to her community in Toledo, Ohio. When a coworker died in a shooting, leaving three children, she paid for the burial. She also hand-crafted Mother’s Day baskets and slipped downtown to fill people’s parking meters. All while going to school and working two jobs. This left her two-to-three hours to sleep. She’s the very embodiment of “dedication.”

Valerie and Natalie Jensen also exemplify dedication. They own Yoforit Frozen Yogurt, in Monroe, Washington. In 2019, snowstorms forced their store to close for long stretches, expensive equipment broke, and their point-of-sale system crashed. Yet they still gave a percentage of their sales to local nonprofits, participated in school fundraisers, and handed out free frozen yogurt at the fair.

We’re pleased to give Nail Fanatics and Yoforit Frozen Yogurt six months of free Fivestars too. We wish we could give the same boost to all our businesses who went through hardship last year.

Thank you for helping us support these amazing businesses–by giving back and loving local!

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