Laura Ross of Waimea is the winner of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii Ho‘okela Award for Retail Employee of the Year. She is the master roaster at Hula Daddy Kona Coffee in Kona.
“We have always known that Laura was one of the finest coffee roasters in Hawaii” said Karen Paterson, owner of Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, “We are so pleased that other people recognize the contribution she is making to quality Kona Coffee.”
Ross roasts at the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee plantation in Kona, where visitors can talk to her and watch her roast Kona coffee on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Coffee professionals from all over the world come to talk to her and to roast with her.
“We made the decision to create the top-rated coffee in Kona and one of the top- rated coffees in the world,” said Paterson. “With Laura’s help we have been able to create amazing coffees that sell out every year. One of the coffees roasted by Laura was given the highest score every given a coffee by Coffee Review.”
Clifton J. Handy, business banking officer for First Hawaiian Bank in Kona, nominated Ross because of her abilities to improve the company’s product and sales.
“In a little over three years, Laura has through tireless dedication become an award-winning roaster of Kona coffee,” Handy wrote, also noting that Hula Daddy has sold out its coffee for “the past three years since Laura has been involved with the company.”
Ross was born and raised in Waimea, where she lives with her husband and teenage daughter.
Hula Daddy Kona Coffee is a boutique coffee company growing, processing and roasting its own coffee in Kailua-Kona. It is owned by Karen and Lee Paterson, who bought a cow pasture in 2002, planted it and began to create high quality Kona coffee. At their plantation they have a tasting room where visitors can taste their coffee. In addition, visitors are invited to tour the orchards, pick ripe coffee and help sort the ripe coffee. Hula Daddy only sells retail, roasted coffee at its plantation and on its website http://huladaddy.com.
Founded in 1901, Retail Merchants of Hawaii (RMH) is a statewide, not-for-profit trade association committed to the growth and development of the retail industry in Hawaii. The RMH mission is to promote the welfare of the retail industry, to provide information and training to advance the interests of the retail industry, and to serve as an advocate for the retail industry in both the governmental and the business communities.
The retail industry is the largest single generator of general excise tax revenue and employs almost 20 percent of the work force in the State of Hawaii. Because effective interaction with government is critical to business, RMH is recognized as the official representative of the retail industry in Hawaii.