2007 SmallBiz Success Awards

2007 SmallBiz Success Awards

(page 4 of 6)

KAMAKA HAWAII INC.

Sam Kamaka Jr.
KAMAKA HAWAII INC.

While simple, the advice passed on by Sam Kamaka to his sons explains why Kamaka Hawaii Inc. has been home to Hawaii’s best known, handcrafted ukulele since 1916: “If you make ukulele and use the Kamaka name, don’t ruin the name by making junk.”

Kamaka started the business more than 90 years ago in his Kaimuki home. Today, 54 years after his death, his sons Sam Jr. and Fred oversee the company while their sons handle the daily operations.

The company produces 4,000 ukulele and brings in close to $2 million in revenue each year.

Kamaka’s 20 full-time employees craft an average of 20 instruments per day. They will have to move soon, as Kamaka’s 50-year lease at the current Kakaako location expires this year. The Kamakas are looking for a larger, climate-controlled factory, to increase their ukulele output.

In the meantime, Fred Kamaka, 82, still gives daily tours of the current factory, and takes time to play the original Pineapple ukulele crafted by his father in 1926. The aptly named, fruit-shaped instrument set the standard for tone and sound quality, and is now valued at over $1 million.

“The sound he got out of it is what he deserves credit for,” says Fred of his father’s fruitful invention.

-Kyle Galdeira

PACIFIC SAUSAGES COMPANY INC.

Clauber Santos, Production Manager
PACIFIC SAUSAGES COMPANY INC.

Italo and Lucia Holusa came to America in 1968 from Brazil with the hope of establishing a business in something other than sausage making, where they had found great success. But after realizing the potential for Portuguese sausage sales in Hawaii, the couple purchased Kalihi-based Continental Sausages in 1970. Husband and wife did it all: cutting, linking and steaming the sausages by hand. However, the previous owners had lagged on payments, and the Holusas were saddled with debt and poor credit. A name change was necessary for a fresh start, and Pacific Sausages was born.

Today, the company produces up to 5,000 pounds of sausage daily, and has grown to include 15 employees—all of whom have worked there for at least five years—including their daughters Adrian and Elizabeth, and their husbands.

Pacific Sausages offers Italian, German, Filipino and Polish sausage varieties, and even produces small orders made from their customers’ own recipes. Lucia says that Pacific’s loyal customers are attracted to the “good-quality products” made from meat without fillers.

The company specializes in wholesaling to large distributors, and supplies its top-selling Portuguese sausage to a large fast-food restaurant chain’s breakfast menu. Sausages are also available for school and nonprofit fundraisers.

-Kyle Galdeira

 

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