A new coffee shop has opened in Glendale with a Hawaiian theme. It’s called Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees and Smoothies. Maui Wowi is a franchise of Bad Ass Coffee.

Kona coffee shop comes to W. Valley

Sherry Anne Rubiano
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 28, 2007

Lisa Wagenknecht and Gary Johnson discovered Kona coffee on a Maui vacation two years ago. The Glendale couple loved it so much they decided to open a store selling the Hawaiian joe to Valley residents.

Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies debuted this month at Peoria and 59th avenues in Glendale. “We loved the concept,” Wagenknecht said. “It’s something different. It’s something fun.”

Maui Wowi sells coffees in various Hawaiian blends and smoothies in tropical flavors like mango orange, strawberry and passion papaya. A retail section includes Hawaiian tea flavors, macadamia cookies and Maui Wowi T-shirts and hats. This is the Maui Wowi store prototype, with its specific decor and merchandise.

Customers who visit will see lots of trinkets and photos from the islands: surfers and hula dancers, tiki poles and pineapples. The staff will greet them with “alohas.”

Wagenknecht, 33, is the primary owner. For the past 10 years, she has worked up to manage a lab where she analyzed chromosomes. She gave up that career to head Maui Wowi.

“This was my baby,” she said, referring to the business.

Johnson, 36, is the business’s co-owner and director of sales and marketing. He currently works as the director of product management for a medical-billing software company.

They hired Wagenknecht’s father, Alan, as construction co-coordinator and store manager.

Since opening this month, Maui Wowi has created a few regular customers. Wagenknecht said they have two goals for the business: To be successful and to introduce three retail locations in the West Valley in the next five years.

Other locations in Arizona:

5929 W. Peoria Ave. Ste 105
Glendale, AZ

19781 North Remington Drive
Surprise, AZ 85374

3008 Glassford Hill Road
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314

Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ


Connie Alexakos wrote:

Aloha Chris,

A note about Bad Ass Coffee. We are a franchise company and will be opening in both Surprise and Scottsdale, AZ in the near future. However, we are not affiliated with Maui Wowi. We have been in business since 1989 selling Hawaiian coffee. We specialize in 100% Kona coffee and other single origin Hawaiian coffee. We also serve a full range of coffees, teas, smoothies, pastries, light breakfast and lunch items. Our logo wear is fabulous. Our stores are a breath of Hawaii on the mainland and serve a lot of Aloha Spirit along with your coffee. Please check out our website for information about our stores, our products and our franchise. Mahalo!

Thanks Connie!

Arizona Coffee

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  1. Pingback: University Update

  2. MikeFTrevino

    “Wagenknecht said they have two goals for the business: To be successful and . . . ”
    I know I shouldn’t post after a big wine tasting, but since I have the truth serum in me, isn’t the first goal a no brainer?

  3. It seems the goals are monetary in nature, and nothing else.

    A shame if that’s true.

  4. I heard Kona beans are much more expensive than most others (I’m sure that Hawaiian pickers get paid much more than coffee pickers in third-world countries). A Hawaiian theme really doesn’t strike me as something I’d like to visit on a regular basis. Maybe it’s just bad memories of Hawaii’s high cost of living and jealousy that Hawaiians get to wake up in paradise every day.

  5. Tracy

    I went to the new store in Glendale on Friday. Overall I was very impressed with the coffee. There were three teenagers working who were extremely helpful and suggested drinks. I ended up getting some type of macadamia, hazulnut latte and it was delicious. The expresso had a wonderful smooth strong taste (not bitter at all) and the flavorings were not too sweet. I will visit again, however, not regularly as it is out of the way for me.

  6. Aloha,

    Tracy thank you for taking the time to experience first hand what Maui Wowi is all about. It sounds like you truly enjoyed the celebration of great Hawaiian coffee.

    As co-owner and Director of Sales and Marketing of this franchise unit, as I stumbled on this website, I was disappointed to find that the sites editor made an error in associating us with Bad Ass Coffee. Funny story however and very ironic, we were actually pretty close to purchasing a Bad Ass franchise…when we found Maui Wowi Hawaiian. The distinctions were night and day. While Bad Ass simply pedals its own plantation coffees and wears, Maui Wowi celebrates the Hawaiian culture, its coffee heritage, support of local island small business, and the Aloha spirit. This differentiation, coupled with Maui Wowi’s strong franchise system, made our decision easy.

    Surf’s up in Glendale! We look forward to seeing you soon for a cup of 100% Kona coffee, Kona espresso, a great fresh fruit smoothie, or to just simply get-away for a mini Hawaiian vacation right here in your own backyard.

    Gary Johnson

  7. Marguerite

    I was so sorry to discover that the MauiWowi location in Glendale has closed! After getting a permanent job, I was planning to go by at least twice a week on my way to work! Gary, I hope whatever you and your wife do in the future is a huge success! I’m REALLY going to miss the place!