Editor’s Note: Eddie Would Go

July, 2004

“Kelli, we are on track to open our 100th location. Don’t you think that’s worth a cover?” asked local entrepreneur Eddie Flores Jr. near the beginning of the year. This is a story that is most definitely cover-worthy.

Hawaii Business had been tracking L&L Drive-Inn, the local juggernaut owned by Flores and partner Johnson Kam, for years. In 1997 we reported of their plans to expand to the Neighbor Islands. In 1999, Hawaii Business was the first to report that L&L would be expanding to the Mainland.

But 100 locations, including New York City? These guys mean business. However, they do it all in their inimitable style that leaves some of the more analytical types here gaping in puzzlement and admiration. Editor-at-large David K. Choo has captured Flores and Kam’s quirkiness and enthusiasm in our cover story, “Start Spreading the News.” We certainly wish Flores and Kam well in their efforts to make it there and make it anywhere. It’s a story that many local business folks will be keeping their eyes on.

You can take the girl out of Kauai, but … you know the rest. Managing Editor and Kauai native Jacy L.Youn gives us a heartfelt and revealing look at what young people there are facing in our “Kauai Report.” Many can’t find work that pays enough to be able to afford the skyrocketing real estate prices. They are essentially priced out of the market in a place they love, have grown up in and where they want to raise their families. Some would say, by most indications, Kauai is doing very well. This story answers the question, “But at what price?”

We all know that military construction is fueling a big boom here, but did you know that the Hawaii hospitals have about $750 million worth of projects in the pipeline? Senior Editor Maria Torres-Kitamura examines the reasons for this sector’s growth and the effect it could have on consumer costs in our HB Health Care section.

There’s a lot of ground to cover in our July issue. However, it just sets the stage for the 2004 Top 250, out next month. We promise you more surprises and stories that business people, who are in the know, need to know. And with this issue, we welcome our summer intern, Laurie Kawakami. Laurie will be attending the University of Southern California in the Fall, to work on a Masters degree in Journalism. Her goal is to one day be the editor-in-chief of a Hawaii newspaper or magazine. We will make good use of her many talents this summer and thank the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for their co-sponsorship.

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Kelli Abe-Trifonovich