In 1899, McBryde Sugar Co., named after Judge Duncan McBryde, was incorporated as a consolidation of ‘Ele‘ele Plantation, the McBryde Estate and Koloa Agricultural Company.
Two years later, McBryde Sugar Co. established the McBryde Plantation Store in ‘Ele‘ele with M. L. May (given name unknown) as its manager.
When Mr. May left for California in 1903, his successor as manager was John Lennox.
Carl Roendahl took over the management of the McBryde Plantation Store in 1910 and remained until 1920.
When a “The Garden Island Newspaper” reporter visited the store in 1911, he saw the hardworking Roendahl up to his neck in wallpaper, paint and other goods. Roendahl explained that he was doing a general overhauling of the entire interior, and his plans included the latest modern improvements.
During the 10 years of Roendahl’s tenure, the store grew from a small plantation store into one of the largest wholesale and retail establishments on Kaua‘i, with branches at New Mill (called the Wahiawa Store), Kukui‘ula and Lawa‘i.
An advertisement during that era read: “The clean-cut, orderly appearance of this store, with its extensive stock, well displayed and well kept, makes it a good place to shop and assures every buyer a good choice in whatever purchase he makes.”
In keeping pace with the advent of the automobile, a gasoline filling tank was installed by the roadside in 1913, and by 1914 McBryde Plantation Store was selling the cheapest gasoline on Kaua‘i.
Some of the people who worked at the store over the years were: John Veveiros, Joseph M. Souza, Jutaro Fujikawa, Kazuo Funai, Jack Vidinha, Edward Souza, a manager of the New Mill branch store; Goichi Yamamoto, Wallace Tokushige, Ruth Toyofuku, Robert Balester, manager during the 1920s; Alice Haraguchi, Koichi Tokushige and Toshio Miyashiro.
The McBryde Plantation Store closed in 1953 while Joseph Santos Jerves was serving as manager, and its branch stores closed shortly thereafter.
Territorial highways constructed during 1938 in front of and below it had somewhat isolated it, and intense competition from area family stores and a declining plantation population led to its demise.
Source: The Garden Island