Scandinavian Shave Ice closes
By Carolyn Lucas
West Hawaii Today
KAILUA, KONA — Kanayo Miyagawa, a visitor from Japan, pulled out her camera and asked friend Taeko to pose in front of Scandinavian Shave Ice.
"It's like an institution," Miyagawa said. "When we come to the Big Island, we always come here at least once. It is a Hawai'i delicacy."
They were among the customers who came to the popular shop on the corner of Ali'i Drive and Likana Lane, snapped photos and ordered one final shave ice — often in giant proportions.
Owners Melissa Ortega and Rich Pasenow said Scandinavian Shave Ice closed Sunday because of the down economy, poor tourism and personal reasons. A month ago, they listed the business, which has franchise opportunities, for sale for $175,000.
"It was a really hard decision to let go of this business. This place has so much history and nostalgia. It has been in Kona for about 18 years," said Ortega, who has co-owned it with Pasenow for the past three years.
Besides the customers, the owners said, they will also miss their employees, many of whom began working at Scandinavian Shave Ice at age 15 or 16. "They're like my kids," Ortega added.
As a thank you, customers Sunday got to pick the price, flavors and size of their shave ice. Of the 45 flavors offered, Ortega said, the most requested at the shop throughout the years was the Hawaiian Sunset: mango, guava and passion fruit.