Hawaii Recovery not Until 2012 or Later, CEO Survey Indicates
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Bernie Coleman, president,
Close to 55 percent of survey respondents say their company’s revenues declined; only 15 percent reported an increase.
One of the lucky few was Justin Britt, of Kauai, founder of Web-based Hawaii Life Real Estate. He says revenue grew because his company could take advantage of the Internet and the downturn.
“The recession was the thing that allowed us to compete,” says Britt, who says his Web site now reaches 50,000 potential buyers worldwide every month, and has led to a flurry of sales, though prices were lower than a few years ago. “I love this recession. … When it’s over we will not be able to grow our market share as quickly.”
Pacific Allied Products Ltd., which makes everything from plastic water bottles to Styrofoam coolers to foam roofing insulation, is a perfect example of how tourism’s woes sliced deeply into the whole state economy.
President Bernie Coleman said that with fewer tourists, fewer bottled soda drinks were being consumed, so he sold fewer bottles. That meant he was making fewer products, buying less merchandise and didn’t need as many workers. As his revenues dipped from $17 million a year ago to $13 million this year, Coleman had to lay off 26 people – almost a third of his workforce.
“When tourism’s down, the trickle-down effect hits so many areas that people don’t understand,” says Coleman. “We don’t ship as much, truck as much, we cut back from working 24-7 to 24-5 so we don’t use the electricity or even as much shrink-wrap.”
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