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2012 SmallBiz Success Awards

18 Hawaii small businesses are finalists for Hawaii Business magazine's SmallBiz Success Awards

(page 2 of 8)

Owner Don Murphy, his wife, Marion, and their staff organize
and participate in fundraisers and activities with more than
20 community organizations.
Photo: David Croxford

Community Service Winner:
Murphy's Bar & Grill

Don Murphy sees the bar that bears his name as not just a business, but as part of the community.

“We love living here and what we give people is the opportunity to get involved,” he says. Murphy’s, located in downtown Honolulu at 2 Merchant St., is the perfect spot for people to come together for entertainment and good causes, Murphy said before Christmas, as he prepared for the annual gift drive and wrapping event for Ronald McDonald House.

Murphy credits his mother with teaching him the importance of giving as he grew up in Oklahoma.

At times, his father was ill and “we spent a lot of time in the hospital,” Murphy explains. “And when my mother would see someone in the corner, crying or feeling sad, she would always go over and give that person a hug.”

He says his wife, Marion Elniski, makes all the charity work possible. “She supports me and, through her support, we’re able to do it,” he explains. “The staff goes along, and they really get excited.”

Murphy’s organizes and participates in fundraisers and other activities with more than 20 community organizations, including Coaches vs. Cancer, Hawaii Literacy, Aloha Festival Week and Save Our Schools. The annual Pigskin Pigout held at Murphy’s has raised more than $1.5 million for University of Hawaii football over 15 years.

Diane Ono, an attorney who sits on the board of directors for the Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation, says Murphy and Elniski have kind and generous hearts and their bar has hosted the foundation’s main fundraiser for the past decade. Don has had “a real soft spot” for children fighting cancer since he helped a friend’s child who eventually succumbed to the disease, Ono explains.

“But it’s not just children with cancer … There’s always one, sometimes two, things going on for charity,” she says. For example, if it’s a waitress who is sick, Murphy “helps them make it through.”

Through the years, staff members have come back to thank him for teaching them about giving. “That’s really special,” Murphy says. 

- Jolyn Okimoto Rosa

murphyshawaii.com

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