When Anuhea and Mari first set out to start My Aloha Post Hawaii subscription boxes, they discovered Penny and her local print flour sack towels at a craft fair. After purchasing several towels for their own kitchen, they knew that once My Aloha Post began they had to include Downtown General Store in their boxes.
Penny and her husband Les started Downtown General Store in 1980, designing hand screened notecards and photography. “We enjoyed being able to create our ideas and trying to sell them. Although we don’t actually have a general store, we liked the idea of one where we could design whatever we wanted to and not be limited to only screen printing or photography.”
About ten years ago, Penny found herself looking for the perfect towels to screen print. “We loved [the flour sack towels]! It was 100% cotton, easy to print on, and the best dish towel to dry dishes.”
Sometimes going back to the basics is what works best. “During the plantation days, flour was purchased in 100 pound sacks. Once the sacks were emptied, washed and bleached, they had a variety of different uses such as: kitchen towels, cleaning and polishing cloths, diapers and underclothing. They were even sewn together to make sheets and pillowcases in homes that could not afford regular bedding.”
At the time when they first started, Penny soon found that most people hadn’t heard of flour sack towels. But after convincing them to try, “my customers now tell others how they really like them. They practically sell them for us at the craft fairs,” she exclaimed.
While most of their designs are asian influenced, they also have several inspired by local themes like Chinese Dim Sum and vintage milk pogs.
Interested in more flour sack towels from Downtown General Store? Penny and Les just recently updated their site where you can find upcoming craft fairs they’ll be at as well as a few stores that are now selling their products.