Isle sausage firms link up
Once upon a time, there were the Regos and then there were the Gouveas, both fierce competitors offering their own homemade recipes for Portuguese sausages in Hawaii.
But now the rivalry between the two Rego's Purity Foods Co. and Gouvea's Inc. - will end as the two family-owned companies merge together as Gouvea's and Purity Foods Inc.
The merger became official on Aug. 28. All 13 employees will remain with the new company.
Both companies, however, will maintain their own original recipes in order to keep their loyal customers.
Gouvea's goes back to 1933, and Rego's Purity goes back to 1957, giving the merging companies a combined experience of 126 years.
"It is not unusual to have perfect strangers come up to me and say that they have grown up with Gouvea's Sausage," said Bill Atherton, owner of Gouvea's. "This merger with Rego's Purity will help ensure that Gouvea's will continue on for the next 75 years."
Jacinto Gouvea started Gouvea's in 1933 out of his Kalihi backyard, and then passed on the business to his son, Walter Gouvea, who passed it on down the generations to Milton Gouvea and his children.
In 2006, Atherton, a family friend and neighbor of the Gouveas, purchased the company with the desire to keep the long-standing local company tradition alive.
The founding of Rego's goes back to 1957, when Al Rego, who learned about sausage making at Ulupalukua Ranch on Maui, bought the Purity Sausage business with his brother Leonard, owner of Leonard's Bakery.
Rego's grandson, Scott Stevenson, is now the third-generation owner of the sausage company. He knew since he was 11 years old that he wanted to take over the business. Since buying out the family business in 1997, Stevenson has tripled sales.
"We have so many similarities as far as family roots and tradition goes, and after years of competition we created a great friendship that it just made sense to merge," said Stevenson. "Why fight against someone who shares the same interest and values?"
Both brands can be found at most major supermarkets in Hawaii.