TVA couple Kalin and Kiana Uluave have started the one and only soda business on Oahu, So’Da Bomb, they said. Upon moving to Oahu from Utah in 2015, the newly married couple noticed there were no soda shops on the island. They had previously been accustomed to places like Swig and Sodalicious, which have several locations in Utah and Arizona.
“We had the idea when we first moved here to Hawaii in August 2015. We thought it would be cool to open one up,” said Kiana, a BYU at Provo alumni from Laie currently teaching history at Kahuku High School. “My favorite part has been bringing the first of its kind to Hawaii. It’s such a big thing on the west coast, and we are so happy to bring it here.”
Kalin, a senior business major from Utah, said, “Honestly, my favorite part of all of this is just meeting everyone... It’s so cool to sell something that you build yourself.” He said this business project is part of his internship for his degree at BYUH.
Pono Cummings, a sophomore undeclared major from Laie, is the creative operations manager. He said the best thing about working with the Uluaves is “[being] a boss and [having] people believe in me.” He also said So’Da Bomb has helped him decide to earn a certificate in entrepreneurship.
The truck, located at the Hukilau Marketplace, serves drinks mixed from various sodas and juices. When asked about how they created the menu, Kiana said, “We had a soft opening. We invited friends over and bought lots of soda and flavors. They tried them all and had lots of great feedback. We created different combinations and came up with fun names. It took about two weeks to get a solid menu.”
The Uluaves said they worked with a graphic design company called 99 Designs and about 30 designs later, the official menu was born. The menu included dozens of combinations of brand name sodas like Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Sprite and Coca Cola.
“We started planning, got the supplies ourselves, and began working with PCC after Christmas break to get a spot at one of the marketplace trucks,” said Kiana.
Richie Norton, managing coordinator of entrepreneurship at the Willes Center, posted live videos on Facebook and Instagram on March 10, opening day, and he was the official first customer. “To see this all come together has been a dream come true,” Norton said. He ordered the “Aloha Spirit” drink, made of Mountain Dew, Blue Curacao, coconut, and passion fruit. “As soon as I drank it, it gave me the ‘breath of life.’ And now I know the color of Aloha is green.”
Kalin said they weren’t originally planning on opening that day. He and Cummings saw Norton at the Foodland parking lot, and he asked them about their business. Norton said, “Why don’t we have a soft opening today?”
Norton said, “The location is unreal. As soon as I heard it was a drive-thru, it was over. I’ll drive there every single day. It’s easy on locals and on PCC to reach more customers who don’t want to get out of their cars.” Kalin clarified there will be a drive up in the future.
The Uluaves said they had an unbelievable turnout and exceeded their sales goal for opening day. “We literally worked for about seven or eight hours straight before the crowd thinned out. It was nuts,” said Kalin.
The company’s Instagram is @sodabomb808. Uluave said future deals and giveaways for BYUH students will be announced there.