Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and Pamela Tumpap, the president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce, honored the winners of the 2014 Mayor’s Small Business Awards on Feb. 26. They handed out awards in seven categories at the King Kamehameha Golf Club on behalf of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Maui Chamber of Commerce.
The Maui Farm, Inc. won Outstanding Nonprofit Business of the Year. The nonprofit organization—which provides farm-based, family-centered programs that teach essential life skills for self-sufficient living—is expanding its resource development to reduce their reliance on government funding.
The Young Small Business Person of the Year award went to James “Jason” Stenger Jr. of Alpha, Inc. Stenger, 32, has established Alpha, Inc. as a leader in Maui’s construction industry. The company–which specializes in site work, water well drilling and renewable energy systems–launched with a single piece of equipment. Despite the recession, Stenger built the company gradually and increased revenue 350 percent in the last two years.
Valley Isle Marine Center, Inc. and Mark Tracy won the Exceptional Small Business of the Year (10 or fewer employees) award. In business for 44 years, the company has two Maui locations and another in Hilo, which opened in 2012. The company says it offers competitive pay, a wide array of benefits, flex time, use of company vehicles and boats and training to ensure employees are knowledgeable about the latest industry technology.
The Exceptional Small Business of the Year (11-35 employees) award went to A Saigon Cafe, and its owner, Jennifer Nguyen. She attributes her success to her mother, who said, “Give quality service to each customer, use the freshest ingredients, and take things one day at a time.” Nguyen says she keeps things fresh with produce from her own two-acre farm and the select ingredients she picks.
The Exceptional Small Business of the Year (36-100 employees) award went to Marmac Ace Hardware. Bill and Maureen Marrs founded the business in 1971 and recently opened a second story in Maui Lani, creating 20 new jobs.
“Small businesses are Maui County’s most important economic engine, and these awards celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well in Maui County,” said Arakawa. “Business owners take many risks, work long hours and put their personal assets on the line to provide our community with goods and services, as well as much-needed employment. I congratulate each of this year’s winners, and wish them continued success.”
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner was Trilogy, owned by Jim and Rand Coon. The 40-year-old company’s business practices address conservation and improvement of Maui’s environment, which has won them numerous awards and helped them support many local charities. The company is a fourth generation business with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren participating.
The Annette Pauole-Ahakuelo Honorary Award for Molokai went to Something for Everybody, owned by Wailani Tanaka. Something For Everybody is a store on Molokai that sells clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and teens in all sizes and styles. They carry household goods and made-on-Molokai items including jewelry, music, T-shirts, hats and accessories. The business started out of a garage, however Tanaka sensed they were filling a niche that was needed on Molokai, and soon she was looking for space in Kaunakakai.