Maui Business

Mom-and-Pop Spotlight Concludes in Hāna

March 15, 2018, 2:12 PM HST
* Updated March 15, 2:14 PM
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Left to right: Kauionalani Waller (MBB), Grace Fung (MBB), Andrew Rayner (President of the Hana Business Council), and Nicole Fisher (MBB). PC MBB

Since Feb. 20, 2018, a series of business forums titled “The State of Mom-and-Pops in Maui” was held across Maui County, moving from Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi to Pāʻia and Wailuku, concluding March 6 in Hāna.

The Hāna event featured 10 local business leaders, including Hāna Business Council president Andrew Rayner and Maui Business Brainstormers organizer Nicole Fisher, who facilitated the session at Travaasa Hāna.

Voicing pride in their location as the “Heart of Old Hawaiʻi,” Hāna business owners brainstormed together on a range of objectives that would collectively aid local commerce, such as online platforms to capitalize on the products and services which are uniquely from Hāna, improving a unified online presence, and ways to tap into the younger generation both to help the more mature businesses manage growth online but also to get engaged in succession planning roadmaps.

“For our taro farming, there is no shortage of taro, there is a shortage of taro farmers,” said Claire Carroll, business owner and vice-president of the Hāna Community Association. “But the next generation is showing interest in taro farming again—now.”

Other discussions centered around optimizing signage to connect with passing traffic that enters the business area from two separate directions around the island, and collaborating on cross-marketing of their businesses with each other.

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Francine Frost, owner of Hāna Gold, emphasized the importance of “telling our stories” to the visitors of Hāna, hoping her customers take “my chocolate and my stories back home.” She said she routinely promotes her neighbor businesses as well.

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Fisher noted that the attendees were fiercely passionate about the unique “story” that Hāna has to offer, and they developed a lengthy list by the end of the forum of ways they can increase business collaboration to create a stronger network of businesses that drives the overall market for all.

“The forum successfully demonstrated the goal of the Mom-and-Pop series across Maui—to engage small business owners in a discussion about how to change the attention Mom-and-Pops receive, and raise their visibility now to drive future survival and success,” said MBB organizer Kauionalani Waller. “This free multi-location event helped bring focus on local small businesses by the broader consumer community across Maui County, expanding the mind-share of small businesses with local customers.”

The Mom-and-Pop forums were held in conjunction with National Entrepreneurship Week, on Maui and across the US. MBB initiated Maui’s first-ever participation in National Entrepreneurship Week in 2017, with three days of educational events end-to-end across the island that began in Hãna and concluded at Montage Kapalua Bay.

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