The word “Hãnai” is not only the name of the new business, but a motto for how the Senters live and serve the community. Hãnai is a term used in Hawaiian culture to describe the friends who become family — adopted family.
Hãnai became a reality when the Senters signed a lease for a space on Southern Avenue in July 2021. After nine months of renovating the former CrossFit gym, Hãnai opened its doors in April and celebrated its grand opening in May 2022. The coffee shop employs foster teens to help them develop skills and experience in the workforce.
“We wanted to create a business where they can work, be trained up, learn a skill but also have people that cared about them deeply,” Ryan says. “The goal is one day they could become a manager here or open up their own Hãnai.”
Ohana, a non-profit social services agency that works with foster youth and adults with special needs, in 2015. Hãnai is a continuation of the community they’ve built thus far.
As parents of six children (four adopted and two biological), the Senters are aware of the struggles foster youth face and have learned mentorship techniques for supporting them.
Through Ohana’s Work and Job Readiness Program, Hãnai hires foster youth ages 15 to 19 years old and teaches them the confidence and social skills required to be successful employees. Hãnai also provides a safe environment to learn independence and leadership skills.
“There are incidents where kids would be typically fired from a job but our management is trauma trained and very grace-based when it comes to knowing situations individually which has been very helpful,” Sara says.
Hãnai’s management staff are trained weekly on things like trauma and leadership — including how to allow young people to experience normalcy and failure in a healthy, empathetic setting.
The Senters hope their coffee shop will benefit both its employees and customers. As Laveen residents, they felt that the area needed a welcoming environment and space to connect and hold gatherings, whether that be baby showers, paint nights, or church events. Hãnai uses both the shop and a reservable conference room for hosting things like meetings and birthday parties.
“For the community specifically, it’s a reminder of how we all deserve a nice place to go to,” Sara says, “So we’re affordable but we’re pretty — and we deserve to be here. You don’t have to be in downtown or Scottsdale to have a pretty space.”
Try the Toast Trio or the crowd-favorite Aloha Punch. Serving coffee, craft cocktails, beer, wine, and food, Hãnai is a one-stop shop for brunch and midday pick-me-ups. One of their most popular food items is the Southwest Breakfast Crepe, a savory morning crepe filled with chorizo, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, crispy potatoes, and fresh avocado then drizzled with a creamy chipotle ranch sauce.
Hãnai is all about bringing the “Aloha Spirit” to the Laveen community by extending warmth and hospitality, the Senters say. To them, Hãnai is “a place where you feel a sense of community — where you feel at home.”
Hãnai Coffee + Beer + Wine
3648 West Southern Avenue, Unit 148
Hours: Sundays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.