Empire of Spam Musubi

Mar 10, 2017

Credit Wikimedia Commons

You know Hawaii loves spam musubi but you might not realize that for one company, it’s a $37 million enterprise. PBN editor-in-chief A. Kam Napier has more.


Step into any of the sixty 7-11 stores in Hawaii and you’ll see the familiar glass cabinet stocked with musubi and bentos. All of these come from Warabeya USA, the regional presence for a Japanese wholesaler, Warabeya Nichiyo Holdings.


Big things have been happening for Warabeya USA. It had been leasing a facility in Mapunapuna since 1996, but dreamed of owning and building its own state-of-the-art facility. That’s now happening. It recently acquired the former Fujifilm property in Waipahu for $17 million and plans to spend another $20 million to renovate the facility.


At 52,000 square feet of interior space, the new building is twice the size of the old one. Warabeya owns the land now but leases the building, which it will convert into offices, warehouse space and a new food prep facility. When the new facility opens in 2019, the company intends to expand its product offerings, going beyond musubi, manapua, pork hash, salads and more. Desserts are tops on its wish list.


The company employs just over 200 people, many of whom live in West Oahu. It hopes that the move to Waipahu will also make it easier to hire and retain workers, given the shorter commute and proximity to the future Waipahu rail station.