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Bakery Represents at Japanese Product Fair

Maui County News Release

A dozen Maui County-made product vendors are leaving for Japan to test their products at the sixth annual Hankyu Hawaii Fair from July 10-16, in Umeda, Osaka. Among them is Molokai’s Kanemitsu Bakery. SuiKeala Jewelry of Hana, with ties to Molokai, will also be attending.

The event, which is the largest out-of-state Hawaii fair, attracts more than 250,000 Japanese consumers every year and sells food, apparel, gifts and jewelry items all made in the islands. Held in the 15-story Hankyu Umeda Department Store, the venue carries quality merchandise and is regarded as one of the higher-end department stores in the entire country.

Nine of the 12 vendors will be testing their products in Japan for the first time at the event, which is located in the country’s second largest metropolitan area behind Tokyo.

Osaka serves as the economic powerhouse of the Kansai Region and could introduce new opportunities and a new market for the companies from Maui and Molokai. Advertising of the event via newspaper, website, radio and blogs are expected to reach over 1.5 million customers in the area.

Tokie Ogawa, business development specialist at Maui County’s Office of Economic Development, will help oversee and assist local vendors before and during the fair. She also will help new participants understand the flow of customers, learn the Japanese consumer’s buying patterns and build relationships with Hankyu Department Store buyers.

The Hankyu Hawaii Fair is organized by the Hankyu Umeda Department Store, with support from the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) through its Hawaii State Trade Expansion Program (HiSTEP). This program provides training seminars, direct financial assistance and organizes Hawaii Pavilions at Mainland and overseas venues. Every year DBEDT introduces several Hawaii companies for consideration for the Hankyu Hawaii Fair. In total, more than 80 brands from Hawaii will be highlighted this year.

Last year, DBEDT introduced Yuri Sawada, project manager for the Hankyu Hawaii Fair, to the Made in Maui County Festival where she was impressed with several local companies. OED has been working with DBEDT for the past four years on inviting international wholesalers to the festival and Sawada’s visit helped pave the way for Maui County vendors to attend the fair in Japan.

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