It might seem like a set of competing interests, but The Curb owner Sumner Ohye loves coffee – and hates cups.

So he’s found a solution: The coffee shop, which has four locations (one in Kaimuki, two at University of Hawaii at Manoa and a downtown kiosk), gives a 60-cent discount to patrons who bring their own cups.

It seems to be working. On one recent afternoon at the Kaimuki shop, nine out of 10 customers were drinking from either an in-house mug or their own reusable to-go vessel. About 65 percent of The Curb’s drinks are served in a reusable container, and Ohye is pushing for more. By June 2016, he hopes to get rid of single-use cups altogether.

“We charge extra for the cup – which is kind of crazy, right?” Ohye says with a laugh. “But the idea behind that is I feel a cup should be a conscious decision.”

Ohye wasn’t always on a crusade against cups, but owning a coffee shop made him aware of the waste involved in the industry – and it’s just one of many sustainable practices at The Curb.

“I think it’s weird to say a coffee shop is environmentally friendly because businesses in general waste resources (trash, electricity, water),” he explains. “And that frustrates me.”

To further combat waste, the company composts all of its leftover coffee grinds from its UH Manoa Paradise Palms Café food court shop. Those grinds then go to a UH-run farm near Manoa Marketplace, where the Student Organic Farm Training club uses it as fertilizer.

The Curb also carries local milk – and although buying local can be a little more expensive, Ohye thinks supporting Hawaii farms is worth it. Since his business depends on coffee farms, he strives to support agriculture – even through, as he phrases it, “baby steps” like this.

Other “baby steps” The Curb is taking is evident in the brands of coffee it offers. Ohye considers a variety of factors when selecting coffee, including how it is grown and whether it happens to be the best bird friendly coffee. Current offerings include Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee, which is made on Hawaii island; Intelligentsia Coffee, which is sourced directly from growers; and organically made Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. that comes in compostable bags.

The Curb’s very foundation – literally – follows environmentally friendly practices, as its Kaimuki and Paradise Palms locations were constructed with repurposed wood from Re-use Hawaii. The shops’ floors, shelving, menu boards and counters all are made from repurposed materials. The bar counters at both UH locations even came from an old high school gym floor.

Apart from making The Curb a hub of sustainability, Ohye aims for the shop to simply be a place people can go to for good coffee and good company.

“If you like coffee and you like talking story,” says Ohye, “then we’ll be best friends.

The Curb has two locations at UH Manoa – at Paradise Palms Café and Sinclair Library – a brick and mortar in Kaimuki and a kiosk outside of the Pan Am building downtown. For more information, check out The Curb on Facebook (, on Twitter @thecurbtruck and Instagram @thecurb.


Magic Island will be crawling with furry friends starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, for Hawaiian Humane Society’s 25th annual PetWalk, which brings out pets and their people to support the organization’s mission of rescuing abused animals, strengthening related laws and conducting outreach on animal welfare.

“Our goal for PetWalk is to raise funds for our organization, so we can help to rescue, re-home and reunite even more animals,” explains HHS communications and events coordinator Susan Tam.
Proceeds from the event go toward HHS’s various programs and services. Last year, the walk netted more than $319,000 for the organization – marking the event’s biggest sum yet, and a huge growth since the event was first conceived. Created by HHS’s current president and CEO Pamela Burns, Pet-Walk started small, with just about 350 participants. These days, it attracts thousands of participants each year.

Fundraising takes place in the weeks leading up to the walk – when participants conduct their own campaigns to raise money. “There are lots of fun ways to raise money for PetWalk. You could hold a car wash, have a bake sale, or get together with your office and make it a team fundraiser,” Tam suggests.

In addition to the walk itself – which begins at 8 a.m. – the event features live entertainment, food vendors, giveaways, a pet float contest and parade, and a pet costume contest.

There’s no doubt that the participating pets will be adorable – but Tam says that seeing the people rallying around animals is the really significant part.

“The highlight is seeing thousands of people step out for a charity walk and showing their support of animal protection,” she says.

For more information on Hawaiian Humane Society’s PetWalk and to register, visit