The Best of Small Business – SBA Awards and SmallBiz Editor’s Choice 2017

May, 2017

 

CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU

PERSONS OF THE YEAR

Brooke Watson, CEO
Shyrah Maurer, President

SoHa Designs, Inc. dba SoHa Living

Sponsor: Kent Lau, First Hawaiian Bank

With the opening of three stores in 2016, SoHa Designs now has eight and employs 93 people. Watson says the key is offering unique Hawaii products ranging from wooden signs to pillows to diffusers. SoHa also supplies products it manufactures to local boutiques and hotels.


EXPORTER OF THE YEAR

James Chan, GM

Hawaiian Chip Co.

Sponsor: Dennis Ling, DBEDT

Sauce, not chips, is driving Hawaiian Chip Co.’s export success. Most growth is in Japan, where the Kilauea hot sauces and marinades are popular, but another sales hotspot is Minute Maid Stadium, home of baseball’s Houston Astros. The fastest growing item: the new Hawaiian Ketchup.


FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS

Marlo R. Vincenti, Office Manager
Kyle I. Okahara, Production Manager
Brandon S. Okahara, Sales Manager

MKB Enterprises, LLC dba Oka’s Auto Body

Sponsor: Martha Camacho, First Hawaiian Bank

Taking care of both the planet and people has kept the Okahara family business running for 48 years. Solar power saves $36,000 annually, and the shop uses environmentally friendly water-based paints to make rebuilt cars look like new.


ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Phillip S. Hasha, Principal/CEO

The Redmont Group LLC

Sponsor: Nick Sutton, Central Pacific Bank

Nick Sutton calls Phillip Hasha and his firm “progressive thinkers” and adds, “This is a company succeeding more and more every year.” Among its moves in 2016, Redmont Group purchased a leasehold office building in Kakaako, where much of its real estate business is done.


ADVOCATE FOR MINORITIES

Helen N. Wai, Owner

Helen N. Wai LLC

Sponsor: Naomi Masuno, Bank of Hawaii

Wai, a Native Hawaiian and lifelong Nanakuli resident, uses her experience in becoming a successful businesswoman to inspire other women and Native Hawaiians to become homeowners and business owners. She has helped more than 12,000 customers with home-buyer education, foreclosure prevention and energy-efficiency workshops.

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Hawaii Business magazine