In celebration of Father’s Day, we sat down with the “Father” of Kona Coffee & Tea, Dan Bolton. We talked about his thoughts on fatherhood and his family business.
Malia warned me that it might be difficult to interview her Dad. He’s left most of the talking about Kona Coffee & Tea to Malia for the past ten years and stuck to making the big decisions, like managing the farm and their construction company (Bolton Inc.). We conspired to slip some questions in while having a quick lunch with Dan and Jan at He’e Restaurant (a local style Japanese place across the parking lot from the café, that also has killer fish tacos).
Dan looks like he just walked off a construction site. He’s wearing a dirt-stained t-shirt, backward baseball cap, and more than a 5-o’clock shadow. In contrast, his wife and daughter are both wearing crisp white blouses. After ordering, Malia slyly tells her Dad that I’d like to interview him for an upcoming Father’s Day piece on the blog. Dan raises his eyebrows but doesn’t protest, so I proceed.
WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF HAVING A FAMILY BUSINESS?
Dan rolls his eyes and mutters with a smile “Well, there’s a lot of things about having a family business, but the best thing? I think it’s knowing that there’s someone to carry on after your gone”.
WHEN DID YOU BECOME A FATHER?
“It started with Malia over 30 years ago. You have to understand that I was the youngest son of three boys and we were horrible growing up. I don’t know how my mom did it. For Mother’s Day this year I got my mom a card with three peanuts on the front that said, ‘Thanks for putting up with us nuts!’. Well, I crossed out ‘nuts’ and wrote ‘a**holes’ and that’s an understatement. Looking at how my kids turned out, we’re really lucky.”
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF FATHERHOOD?
“Seeing all three of them interact together as adults with their significant others, is awesome. I’m happiest when we’re all together.”
WHAT DO YOU HOPE FOR IN THE FUTURE?
He takes off this worn baseball cap and inspects it, then says with a grin “A new hat?” Then he replies seriously, “Umm, an Australian Shepherd?”. Just when I thought I couldn’t be surprised by any more of his replies, he continues, glancing at Malia “What I’d really like is a grandson”. Now we’re all rolling our eyes at him.
That's all we had time for before getting back to work.
FROM THE KIDS
We also wanted to hear what having Dan as a father is like from his three kids. The following are thoughts from Malia, Kirstina, and Danny.
WHAT'S A FAVORITE MEMORY YOU HAVE OF YOUR DAD?
DANNY: Watching him get dragged by our cow.
MALIA: Getting lost in the dark out at the sand dunes in Glamis, CA. He had no idea where we were but that guy can drive with the pedal to the floor!
KIRSTINA: Too many to list! Dad always gets himself in interesting situations. One year around Thanksgiving, we went to Waipi’o Valley. We spent the entire day by the river, swimming and swinging on the rope swing. After our car battery died from leaving the headlights on so we could swing at night, mom and dad left to get “help”. We found them later at some house party, eating Thanksgiving dinner with a family they didn’t know.
Another year (around Thanksgiving too!), we stayed in a tiny apartment in Kyoto, Japan, which was connected to a tiny restaurant owned by an old lady. The owner didn’t speak English and dad doesn’t speak Japanese, but they would have full conversations about fishing thanks to the Google translate app. He got such a kick out of this new way of communicating, and probably ate there four times in four days to talk about life and fishing.
WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT HIM?
DANNY: He's the hardest working man I know and he leads by example.
MALIA: He loves his wife so much!
KIRSTINA: Hardworking and always puts family first.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO CARRY-ON FROM YOUR DAD?
DANNY: His good looks.
MALIA: Being persistent and never be afraid to ask.
KIRSTINA: His determination and drive.
Thank you to Dan and all the fathers and father-figures out there. We hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day!
Share about your Dad or your experience with fatherhood in the comments section below or @konacoffeeandtea on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
CONTRIBUTOR: Dayva Keolanui
FAVORITE KONA BEACH: Kīholo Bay
FATHER'S DAY PLANS: BBQ & cribbage tournament with the family
I was lucky enough to be born and raised in Hilo, here on Hawai`i Island. My formal training came from studying business and design at Loyola Marymount University. My informal training came from being the lowest on the totem pole at a goliath advertising agency, teaching English in Korea, managing a Senator’s office, and nonprofit fundraising. After living in Los Angeles, Seoul, and Honolulu, I made my way home and I started my own marketing and graphic design business in 2016. When not staring at a computer, I enjoy cooking (eating), surfing, and free diving.