Hale Kauai’s Nawiliwili store going to Honsador

The 71 employees of Hale Kauai Limited found out late yesterday afternoon that portions of the company are being sold to Honsador Lumber Corp., and to Jas. W. Glover Limited.

The Ellis family, which founded Hale Kauai in 1945, will continue to own and operate the Koloa and Kapa‘a retail stores, said Mike Ellis, president and chief executive officer. At least three other kama‘aina families are shareholders.

Honsador will move its lumber yard from an area near the old stables at Kauai Lagoons over to the Nawiliwili Hale Kauai location, and operate the lumber yard.

Glover and Honsador plan to own and operate Hale Kauai’s ready-mix concrete and tile block operations, through a joint-venture agreement.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The sale is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

“The shareholders made this decision because Honsador and Glover do take care of their people,” said Ellis, adding that over the years many individuals and corporations have expressed interest in acquiring Hale Kauai.

“We would not sell to someone who does not take care of their employees,” Ellis said. The sale should be good news for Hale Kauai employees, because of the “compassionate” new owners, he said. “It’s kind of a win-win operation for employees.”

“The shareholders wanted to go their own ways. They decided the time was right,” said Ellis.

The arrival on Kaua‘i of The Home Depot had nothing to do with the decision to sell, Ellis said.

Though many more details need to be worked out, “the sale is definite,” he said.

Jim Pappas, Honsador president, said it is “premature” for him to comment on the sale.

John Romanowski, head of Glover, like Pappas was on Kaua‘i yesterday, but did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Ellis said most, if not all, of Hale Kauai’s employees will keep their jobs, either with Hale Kauai or with Honsador or with Glover at Nawiliwili. Hale Kauai’s headquarters will move to the Kapahi location, he said.

Hale Kauai will move forward with plans to build a gas station at the Kawaihau Road location, he said.

The families owning and operating Hale Kauai over the years earned a reputation of taking good care of employees. Ellis called the current employees “just dynamite; really good employees.”

“The decision to sell Hale Kauai’s major operations after 58 years in business on Kauai was very difficult but necessary,” said the Hale Kauai shareholders in a letter to employees.

“We feel very fortunate to have been able to structure a sale with both Honsador Lumber and Jas. W. Glover, and we know these local companies will carry on the tradition of exceptional customer service and dedication to Kaua‘i.”

Honsador Lumber Corporation was started in 1935 as Honolulu Sash & Door Co., and has grown to be Hawai‘i’s largest distributor of building materials, with five warehouse locations throughout the islands.

The Hale Kauai Nawiliwili location will allow Honsador to consolidate its present Kaua‘i facility into a much larger and improved location, and offer an expanded product line to its Kaua‘i customers.

Jas. W. Glover, Ltd, based in Hilo, is a locally-owned and operated company that has been in business since 1935 as a general contractor and supplier of aggregates, ready-mix concrete, tile block, and asphalt.

The company operates the Halfway Bridge and Maha‘ulepu quarries on Kaua‘i in addition to its locations in Hilo, Kona and Honolulu.

Associate Editor Paul C. Curtis can be reached at pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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