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HFS Federal Credit Union brings history back to Honoka’a Town

HILO, HI (May 13, 2024)If you’re driving through Honoka’a town, you may notice a new sign at HFS Federal Credit Union (HFS FCU), one that nods to the legacy of the historic building they are located in. 

Back in 2016, HFS Federal Credit Union merged with the credit union that was located there previously, joining this tight-knit community with so much history. They are in the Awong Brothers Store building, which is the oldest building in Honoka’a and listed in the National Register of Historic Places with the United States Department of the Interior. Just recently, the Credit Union updated the building signage to include their logo and a nod to the building’s history by adding the Awong name, front and center. What makes this even more special is that Gilbert Awong, the last owner of the Awong Brothers Store, was able to finally see his legacy etched on the building that once belonged to his family. 

A staff member from HFS FCU recently sat down with Mr. Awong and his daughter Beverly to talk about what this means to him and his family. Gilbert’s father, Alfred, was a founding owner of the Awong Brothers Store with his brother Henry. Along with running the general store, Alfred was also a fisherman, rancher, cane planter, bandmaster of the Hamakua County Band and was even a founder of the Honoka’a Library. 

With 102 years of experience under his belt, Gilbert has a wealth of knowledge to share. He took over the store after his father passed away in 1956. He shared stories of days selling $0.31 loaves of bread, showing kindness to neighbors in need with no questions asked, and being a one-stop shop for everything that someone may need (including coffins at one time). Portions of the building were rented out at various times throughout the years to house establishments like a beer parlor for Marines, a warehouse, and Honoka’a Community Credit Union. 

When asked how he felt about seeing his name on the building, Gilbert says “Oh, that’s wonderful! At least people will recognize that it was Awong’s before”. His daughter Beverly added that she “wanted it to happen in his [Gilbert’s] lifetime, and it did”. 

“The Awong Store holds a special place in Honoka‘a’s history and we are honored to be able to continue serving the financial needs of the community from this historic building. We recognize the immense historical significance of the Awong Brothers Store and are committed to being responsible stewards of its preservation.” – Nathan Abe, President/CEO of HFS Federal Credit Union.


About HFS Federal Credit Union

HFS Federal Credit Union (HFS FCU) is the largest not-for-profit and member-owned financial institution on Hawai’i Island. Established by just nine individuals in 1937, HFS started with very humble beginnings. The Credit Union continued to grow from serving just employees of the Federal and Territorial Governments in the County of Hawai‘i and their families, to now offering membership to any person who lives, works, or attends school on Hawai’i Island. For more information about HFS FCU, contact the Credit Union at (808) 930-1400, visit www.hfsfcu.org or stop by any of our branches in Hilo, Kea‘au, Prince Kuhio Plaza, Honoka‘a, Waimea or Kona. You’ll quickly see why HFS is the credit union where caring counts. 

Contacts

Jesica Carriaga
HFS Federal Credit Union
(808) 930-1479
jesica.carriaga@hfsfcu.org

 

 

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