Jon Olsen: A taste for entrepreneurship

October 1st, 2009  |  by  |  Published in People

Jon OlsenJon Olsen, MA ’67 Mānoa

Career: Entrepreneur
Hometown: Jefferson, Maine
Self description: Unrepentant ’60s activist
Current involvement: Maine’s Green Party

It took a car, bus and $120 5-day crossing aboard the S.S. President Cleveland to bring Jon Olsen to Hawaiʻi from Maine more than four decades ago.

Once here, he studied philosophy, was a graduate assistant, worked in a bookstore—“a little of this and that.” He marketed solar energy and worked as a Hawaiian Electric Company inspector.

Eight years ago, Olsen returned to rural Maine to be on hand to assist his 90-year-old father. But he never lost his taste for the Islands, so he invented a flavor that gave him the best of both worlds.Tropical Maine natural syrup and marinade blends lilikoʻi concentrate with maple syrup. His company mascot is a moose in lei riding a surfboard.

“I feel like I have one foot here, one foot in Maine,” Olsen said during a recent trip to Honolulu. He direct markets his product through small stores in Maine and hopes to add Hawaiʻi outlets. Meanwhile, check it out at Ragged Mountain Trading Post.

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