Business

Ho`olehua Credit Union Closed

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Ho`olehua Credit Union Closed

On Dec. 29, 2015, the First Hawaiian Homes Federal Credit Union (FHH FCU) closed its doors after being liquidated by the  National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Located in Ho`olehua, the small building at the corner of Farrington and Pu`upe`elua Avenues served 1,379 members and had assets of nearly $3.2 million, according to the credit union’s most recent Call Report.

First Hawaiian Homes Federal Credit Union closed its doors on Dec. 29. Photo by Catherine Cluett

An NCUA press release said the national organization made the decision to liquidate the FHH FCU and close operations “after determining the credit union was insolvent and had no prospect for restoring viable operations.”

John Fairbanks, public relations specialist for the NCUA, said he could not give any additional reasons for the lack of solvency due to confidentiality in protection of FHH FCU members and union.…

The Man Who Loves Christmas

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

The Man Who Loves Christmas

Each year, a tent pops up on Molokai filled with the Christmas spirit. Step inside and you’ll find yourself in a wonderland of frosted decorations, festive wreaths, ribbons and lights. Spearheading the family operation, Del Gossert is known locally as the “Christmas man,” and for the least six years, has been spreading holiday cheer through discounted decorations under a tent near Hotel Molokai.

Gossert starts growing his full, white beard in October in preparation for Christmas. A self-proclaimed “Christmas fanatic,” Gossart admitted that at his former Maui residence, there was barely room for a bed amid the boxes of Christmas decorations he collected.…

Celebration Through Donation

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Celebration Through Donation

For 80 years, Molokai Drugs has doled out over-the-counter remedies to thousands of island residents. This year, however, the island’s only pharmacy is tending to the health of a unique customer: Molokai High’s ailing fleet of school buses.

To celebrate their milestone anniversary, the owners of Molokai Drugs donated a new 14-passenger bus to the high school, which spent nearly $15,000 last year in bus repairs alone.

To thank the community for 80 years of aloha, Molokai Drugs donated a much-needed bus for students. Photo by Lee DeRouin

The brand-new vehicle, which will be used on Maui, is a start to replacing a collection of buses that over the years have cost the school thousands of dollars, delayed numerous trips and limited the number of students and equipment that teams can take off island.…

Hale Kealoha Unveils New Menu

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

After debuting its pupus last month, Hotel Molokai’s recently restored restaurant expanded its menu to include breakfast, lunch and dinner last week.

Hale Kealoha, the first full restaurant service at the hotel in three years, is now open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Owners and siblings Tammy Smith and Kama Hoe called it the restaurant’s “soft opening,” a chance to get the staff comfortable and work out any kinks before the restaurant’s grand opening on Dec. 5.

“It’s a beautiful place, so come on back and create the memories of what used to be,” said Hoe.

Breakfast at Hale Kealoha now includes classics such as pancakes, French toast and oatmeal.…

Community Planning Continues This Month

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

After seven months of many six-hour-long meetings and much debate and community testimony, the first phase of the Molokai Community Plan Update process has come to a close. The volunteer board of Community Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) members wrapped up their duties of review last month, though the updated plan is still a year and a half away from being completed and the opportunities for public feedback are far from over.

County Senior Planner Jennifer Maydan said the Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) will begin its review of the draft plan on Nov. 12 during the group’s regular meeting.

“At the meeting they will decide if they will continue to review the draft plan during their regular meetings or in a separate track,” said Maydan, via email.…

12 Molokai Businesses at County Product Show

Friday, October 16th, 2015

KBC News Release

At this year’s second annual Made in Maui County Festival, we have 12 booths occupied by Molokai businesses. The Kuha`o Business Center (KBC) is excited to not only have businesses returning to the festival from last year, but to be adding to the list of Molokai businesses that will be represented. The festival takes place Nov. 6-7 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului.

The event will boast a larger format with more products, more vendors, more food trucks, and more reasons to buy local. Nearly 140 product vendors and food trucks are confirmed for this year.…

Molokai Joins Opposition to NextEra Merger

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Molokai residents voiced largely opposition two weeks ago to a proposed merger between Hawaiian Electric and NextEra, a Florida-based energy company. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is gathering public feedback on the proposed $4.3 million merger and will make a decision within the next six months. Molokai’s feedback, said Commission Chair Randall Iwase, has been in keeping with what they’ve heard so far around the state.

“The commission is not required to hold these sessions, but it was opinion of all three commissioners that it was important and appropriate to hear from the public,” said Iwase.

A majority of Molokai attendees testified that they opposed the merger.…

Makoa Trucking Plans Expansion

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

With an increasing demand for storage space and limited area for its vehicles, Makoa Trucking & Services plans to add a 1,920-square-foot steel warehouse at 40 Hio Place, across the street from Rawlins Chevron station.

Last Wednesday, the Molokai Planning Commission approved a Special Management Area (SMA) Minor Permit for New Horizon Enterprises, Inc. dba Makoa Trucking & Services. The project must begin no later than Sept. 30, 2017 and must be completed within two years of the start date.

Makoa Trucking Co-owner Chris Mebille said in recent years their expanding storage business has left less room for their trucking operations.…

Tutu’s Memories: Halcyon days at the Sheraton Kaluakoi

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Marie Yamashita

“You people here are so lucky,” said my good friend Ethel, who had come from Oahu with her husband and friends to spend another weekend golfing and staying at the Sheraton.   “It’s beautiful here and the course is better than our Mid Pacific Country Club on Oahu.”

That was way back in the early 1980s. Many times I had heard similar words from those who visited our island, not only from those who golfed, but others who came primarily to luxuriate in the hotel’s vacation atmosphere or to dine in the charming dining hall.

The view of Kepuhi beach was breathtaking.…

Food for the Soul

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Food for the Soul

Growing up on Molokai as the children of business owners, the Torres siblings wanted to be entrepreneurs from a young age.

“We made our own stores at home out of canned goods, empty cans, whatever we could find,” remembered Rosie Torres-Batara, one of seven sisters. “That’s how it all started.”

The Torres sisters at the new Simply Natural store. Nora Espaniola, who runs the store, far left. Photo by Colleen Uechi.

Years later, the seven sisters and one brother are still in business together, only now it’s more than a game of pretend. In a row of storefronts across from Kaunakakai’s Veterans Memorial Park, the family runs three businesses next to each other.…